Understanding prosumer behavior in the platform ecosystem


Understanding prosumer behavior in the platform ecosystem


Special Issue Call for Papers from European Journal of Marketing


Submission window :1 June 2021-31 October 2021


The term prosumer was coined by futurist Toffler (1980), who envisioned the trend of mass customization in the marketplace that consumers would partake in the producing process as producers and designers (i.e., DIY) for their consumption. Thanks to the platform revolution (Parker, Van Alstyne and Choudary 2016) and the growing participatory culture (Jenkins et al., 2006), the lines between producers and consumers and/or between buyers and sellers have become increasingly blurring in all aspects of consumptionscape. Prosumers play vital roles in brand co-production, creation, promotion, and distribution through interactive conversations and dialogues among fan cultural groups and brand communities (Wang, 2020). The widespread adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, along with the proliferation of various types of social media platforms, have enhanced the processes of prosumer engagement. Wikipedia, for instance, is largely created and maintained by informed, networked and empowered prosumers.

First, a platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. In a platform, do-it-yourself has become do-it-with-us and the digital platforms shifted pipeline business models to a complex network of users or interconnect ecosystem, such as Alibaba, Amazon and eBay wherein one can be a buyer or a seller, a producer or a user, and a provider or a client. The process of value creation is rapidly shifting from the product- and firm-centric view to personalized consumer and prosumer experiences. The market is becoming a forum for conversations and interactions amongst connected global actors in various platforms (Yen and Dey, 2019), in which participants can swap their roles from hosts to customers on Airbnb, from drivers to riders on Uber and Didi, and from content creators to audience on Youtube. 

Second, participatory cultures involve product/service users and/or brand fans acting as proactive consumers and product advocates. Fan culture and fandom behavior, in particular, have changed the consumer-brand relationship as such that consumers are acting roles like enthusiasts, hobbyists, reviewers, bloggers live streamers and influencers in various digital platforms including companies’ own websites. Prosumers can interact with producers and customers, creating and sharing contents, giving feedback and reviews, promoting and “liking” products/brands to their social networks, and playing an ever-increasing influencer role in fellow consumers’ decision-marking (Niu, et al., 2016). For instance, the fast growing game industry and thriving game consumption market have facilitated the growing of professional gamers and online game live streamers, who engage in both production and consumption processes in the cyber world of game fandom. Game streamers and online celebrities, sponsored by game developers, often become self-willing “fan labors,” who test new games in exchange for early access or promotional merchandise (Stanfill & Condis, 2004).

Third, proliferation of various types of social media dramatically altered the dynamics of consumer involvement in various online communities (Yen and Dey, 2019), including fan communities. Social media platforms are now hubs that congregate global brand fans, who act as brand evangelists to share and exchange experience with the product or brand (Wang, et al., 2018; 2019). The more user co-creation, the larger the market size, as in the case of Facebook and Instagram, wherein millions of users contribute to the development of viral marketing. Live streaming media are particularly effective in creating fandom through interactive multimedia communications. Prosumers who become influencers and advocates usually possess particular professional knowledge that can affect fellow consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. For instance, Electronic Arts (EA) paid Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the biggest streamer on Twitch a reported US$1 million to play and promote its new game. Ninja invited his 13 million followers on Twitch, the game-streaming site owned by Amazon, to watch him play the new “Battle Royale” game.

Despite the wide practices of prosumption (production by consumers) as a social and psychological phenomenon that changes the contemporary consumptionscape, the academic research on prosumer behavior has not kept in pace with this fast growing trend. In response to this research gap, this Special Issue aims at advancing the field of prosumer and prosumption research, illustrating presumption’s impact on existing consumptionscape and shedding new to light to the studies of consumer behavior. Towards this goal, we welcome conceptual, methodological and empirical contributions in this special issue that focuses on theoretical understanding of prosumer behavior with marketing implications. Potential topics include, but not limited to, the followings:

  • Different theories and techniques that can be applied to prosumer or presumption research
  • The social and psychological environment of the emerging trend in prosumers and prosumption movement
  • Underlying mechanisms enabling prosumption in marketing practice
  • Psychological and social characteristics of prosumers
  • Participation culture and prosumption
  • The psychological process that convert fans in brand communities to prosumers
  • Prosumers’ emotional  and physical resource investment in a brand
  • The motivational factors that of prosumer behavior
  • The psychological antecedents and consequences of formulation of prosumers
  • The characteristics of prosumers and potential prosumers across different industries and platforms
  • The process underlying the swapping role as consumers and prosumer within the platform ecosystem
  • New technology development and prosumer behavior
  • The role of digital platforms and various social media in prosumer formation
  • Information technology in the new forms of producer-consumer collaboration in new product development processes
  • Prosumers in the sharing economy and collaborative consumption
  • Prosumers and co-creation in shared economy and crowd sourcing
  • The psychological benefits of prosumer participating in user generated content
  • Cognitive and affective engagement of prosumers
  • Differences between consumer engagement and prosumer engagement
  • Differences between company-led engagement and prosumer-led engagement
  • Consumer experience and its impact on prosumer behavior
  • Consumer empowerment and prosumer behavior\
  • Fandom management and prosumer engagement
  • Prosumer identification in brand communities and fandom groups
  • The relationship between fandom and prosumers
  • Virtual interaction, production involvement and prosumer creativity
  • Co-creation experiences in value creation by prosumers
  • Prosumers in the brand building process
  • The impact of prosumers in retailing and e-commerce
  • Prosumers as product advocates, fan-labor, and brand evangelists



Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Puroshotma, R., Robinson, A. and Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century, The MacArthur Foundation

Niu, N. Wang, C. L., Yin, Y. and Niu, Y. (2016), How do destination management organization-led postings facilitate word-of-mouth communications in online tourist communities? A content analysis of China’s 5A-class tourist resort websites, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 33 (7), 929-948.

Parker, G. G., Van Alstyne, M.W. and Choudary, S. P. (2016), Platform revolution: How networked are transforming the economy--And how to make them work for you, New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Stanfill, M. & Condis, M. (2014). Fandom and/as labor, (editorial). In Stanfill andMegan (eds.), Special Issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, No. 15.

Toffler, Alvin (1980), The Third Wave, William Morrow.

Wang, C. L. (2020), Contemporary perspectives on research: An introduction,” in Wang, C. L. (ed.), Handbook of research on the impact of fandom in society and consumerism, Hershey, PA: IGI Global Inc.

Wang, C. L. Sarkar, A. & Sarkar, J. G.  (2018), Building the holy brand: Towards a theoretical model of brand religiosity, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 42 (6), 736-743

Wang, C. L., Sarkar, J. G. & Sarkar, A. (2019), Hallowed be thy brand: Measuring perceived brand sacredness, European Journal of Marketing, 53 (4), 733-757

Yen, D. and Dey, B. (2019) 'Acculturation in the Social Media: myth or reality? Analysing social-media-led integration and polarisation'. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145. pp. 426 - 427.


Submission Details:

Submission window 1 June 2021 – 31 July 2021

Prior to submission please review the EJM submission guidelines at www.emeraldinsight.com/ejm and submit online following the instructions provided. Please ensure you select this issue from the drop down menu when you submit.

Closing Date for Submissions: July 31, 2021

For questions regarding the content of this special issue, please contact the guest editors:

Professor Cheng Lu Wang, University of New Haven, USA, [email protected]

Professor Dorothy A. Yen, Brunel Business School, UK, [email protected]


About the guest editors:

Cheng Lu Wang, Ph.D. (Oklahoma State University), is Professor of Marketing at the University of New Haven, a recent recipient of Fulbright Scholar Specialist award. His research interests include consumer behavior, consumer-brand relations and brand fandom. He has published over 70 research articles in top quality journals, including Journal of Consumer Psychology, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, and Industrial Marketing Management, among others. Professor Wang has extensive editorial experiences, as a book editor, journal co-editor, and special issue guest editor for a dozen of high impact journals, including Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, and International Marketing Review, etc..

Dorothy A. Yen (PhD, University of Leeds) is Reader in Marketing at Brunel University London and currently the Associate Head of Brunel Business School. Dorothy has several years of experience of working in advertising and market research firms. She takes on a consumer-centric approach to marketing and branding. Dorothy is particular interested in exploring how culture affects human behavior, in both b2b and b2c domains. She examines cross-cultural business relationships and acculturation in relation to food consumption and social media practices during travel, and discusses the notion of animosity in relation to consumption and tourism. Dorothy’s works are published in journals that are deemed as world elite and of international excellence, such as British Journal of Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, International Marketing Review, Journal of Marketing Management, Technological Forecasting and Social change, etc. 

Dorothy also led several special issue in Industrial Marketing Management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and International Marketing Review.