Transformation of Work Through Internal Crowdsourcing


Digitization fundamentally changes markets and organizations. In order to cope with a fast-moving and uncertain environment, organizations are looking for ways to become more flexible and productive. One approach to achieve these goals is the concept of internal crowdsourcing, in which organizations reorchestrate their employees via digital platforms using open calls for temporary task assignments. In order to capture its advantages companies must transform their “traditional” mode of working that is usually build on principles such as hierarchy and clearly defined job roles, whereas the new work paradigm of internal crowdsourcing is more flexible and autonomous. The concept has a strong record of accomplishment in the digital economy on platforms such as Uber or Upwork and is now being increasingly applied within the boundaries of organizations. More and more organizations intend to move stable traditional jobs into a pool of flexible “crowd workers.” For example, Dieter Zetsche – the CEO of Daimler AG – announced to transfer 20% of Daimler’s personnel into an internal crowd for a range of innovation tasks. However, building up and orchestrating such a huge crowd reflects a major transformation for any organization that does not hap-pen automatically.

In order to address this transition, the intended project seeks to develop a process theory that explains the transformation process when organizations strive towards such approaches of platform-based work organization. In so doing, we will overcome the limitations of existing research that considers internal crowdsourcing only as static socio-technical system. We ex-tend this view by reconceptualizing internal crowdsourcing as technochange process that deals with the introduction of an IT-enabled organization innovation for orchestrating and executing work processes via digital platforms. In order to reach this goal, we follow a multi-phase mixed-method approach. Based on a large account of already collected data in three case organizations, we intend to collect additional qualitative and quantitative data regarding the investigated transformation processes in a longitudinal fashion and to integrate these alternating and complimentary insights into a process theory.

Our project will make two important contributions. First, we will contribute a process theory that describes how organizations can manage the transformation from traditional work set-tings to platform-based internal crowdsourcing. Second, we will enrich the process theory by including the perspective of affected employees in order to explain the perception and acceptance of internal crowdsourcing by employees. In so doing, we address the shortcomings of existing research that predominantly describes internal crowdsourcing as a static system by reconceptualizing internal crowdsourcing as organizational innovation that enacts a technochange process and developing a process theory for platform-based work transformation in organizations. These contributions will be relevant for various academic fields such as management and information systems research. We intend to create a two conference publications and one high-caliber journal submission (FT50; e.g., Information Systems Research) as well as a practitioner’s digest. For practice, this project’s results will help companies success-fully manage the transformation process from traditional work settings towards platform-based modes of work organization such as internal crowdsourcing. For education, the projects contributes to the University of St.Gallen’s efforts to teach students competencies for a digitized world.

Additional Informationsunspecified
Commencement Date1 November 2018
Contributors Blohm, Prof. Dr. Ivo (Project Manager) & Greineder, Michael Johannes (Project Worker)
Datestamp 26 Oct 2018 12:42
Institute/School IWI - Institute of Information Management
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Completion Date 31 September 2020
Publications Durward, David & Blohm, Ivo: Understanding Job Satisfaction of Crowd Workers: An Empirical Analysis of Its Determinants and Effects. 2018. - Multikonferenz Wirtschaftsinformatik (MKWI). - Lüneburg, Germany.
Greineder, Michael Johannes; Leicht, Niklas & Blohm, Ivo: Conceptualizing the Agile Work Organization: A systematic literature review, framework and research agenda. 2020. - 33rd Bled eConference. - Bled, Solevenia.
Knop, Nicolas & Blohm, Ivo: Leveraging the Internal Work Force through Crowdtesting – Crowdsourcing in Banking. 2018. - International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). - San Francisco, CA, USA.
Knop, Nicolas & Blohm, Ivo: Adaptation Barriers in Internal Crowdsourcing: A Multiple Case Study. [Conference or Workshop Item]
Knop, Nicolas; Blohm, Ivo & Leimeister, Jan Marco (2019) Internes Crowdsourcing – Herausforderungen und Lösungsstrategien für eine erfolgreiche Transformation der Arbeitsorganisation. HMD : Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik, 735-747. ISSN 1436-3011
Durward, David; Blohm, Ivo & Leimeister, Jan Marco (2020) The Nature of Crowd Work and its Effects on Individuals’ Work Perception. Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), 37 (1). 66-95. ISSN 0742-1222
Greineder, Michael Johannes & Blohm, Ivo: A Process Theory on Transformation of Work Through Internal Crowdsourcing. 2020.
Greineder, Michael Johannes & Blohm, Ivo: Transforming Work Organization with Internal Crowds: a Process Theory. 2020. - International Conference on Information Systems 2020. - Hyderabad, India.
HSG Profile Area SoM - Business Innovation
Keywords Crowdsourcing, platform-based work organization, process theory, crowd work
Funders SNF – National Research Project
Id 247657
Project Range Institute/School
Project Status completed
Project Type fundamental research project
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