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PhD09_vanderGraaf

PhD09_vanderGraaf

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Published by: Shenja van der Graaf on Dec 10, 2010
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11/09/2011

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van der Graaf, S. (2009). Designing for Mod Development: User creativity as productdevelopment strategy on the firm-hosted 3D software platform. Unpublished Ph.D.,London School of Economics and Political Science, London.
London School of Economics and Political Science
 Designing for Mod Development:User creativity as product development strategy on the firm-hosted 3D software platform
Shenja (AACG) van der Graaf A thesis submitted to the Department of Media and Communications in partialfulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy***March 2009
 
Declaration
I confirm that the work presented in this thesis for the examination for the PhDdegree of the London School of Economics and Political Science is my own. Whereinformation has been derived from other sources, I confirm that this has been indicatedin the thesis.The copyright of this thesis rests with the author. Quotation from it is permitted, provided that full acknowledgement is made.-------------Signature
 
Abstract
The thesis is designed to improve our understanding of user participation inWeb-based development practices in the commercial setting of the 3D softwareindustry. It aims to investigate whether the creative capacities of users and their contributions to the online firm-hosted 3D platform are indicative of a novelconfiguration of production that influences the processes of product development acrossfirm boundaries.The thesis mobilizes the user participation literature developing in mediaresearch as its main theoretical framework. It builds on insights derived from work onuser participation in media sites as seen through a cultural lens, in particular, asdeveloped in Henry Jenkins’ notions of ‘participatory’ and ‘convergence culture’. Theuser participation literature is supported by a combination of insights drawn from work on communities of practice and user-centred innovation so as to offer a more robustapproach to examine and appreciate the firm-hosted 3D platform as a site of user  participation. More specifically, the conceptual framework for the study provides a basisfor an examination of the ways a software developer firm encourages user participationin a market and of how this enables and facilitates particular modes of user creativity.These are shown to shape and maintain a firm-hosted platform that aids productdevelopment efforts that are expected to benefit the developer firm. An empirical studyof the platform, Second Life, provides the basis for the analysis of firm-user interactionswhich are shown to underpin a distinctive firm learning process in the context of  product development that occurs across permeable firm boundaries.The thesis yields insight into the way a developer firm invites its user base to partner with it in product development, indicating how aspects of user participationassociated with non-market dynamics are embedded in commercial activity and professionalism. The pivotal role of users is revealed in the design, development andsustainability of a firm-hosted 3D product. The findings point to interestingrelationships between the distinctive creative capacities of users and the range of capabilities afforded by the firm-provided design space. Variations in user participationand contributions to product development suggest that particular patterns of learningopportunities occur. The analysis yields several new concepts including a ‘modificationeffect market’ which are used to extend existing conceptualizations of user participationin digital development practices in the commercial setting of the 3D software industry.
 

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