Crowdsourcing: A Systematic Literature Review

Forthcoming in Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal

12 Pages Posted: 7 May 2015

See all articles by Mokter Hossain

Mokter Hossain

Qatar University; Qatar University - Center for Entrepreneurship

Ilkka Kauranen

Aalto University

Date Written: May 4, 2015


Objective: The objective of the study is to explore the development of crowdsourcing literature.

Methodology: This study is based on a systematic review of 346 articles on crowdsourcing. Both statistical analysis and synthesis of empirical evidences were conducted for a comprehensive literature review.

Findings: ISI-listed, non-ISI listed, and conference articles have had nearly the same contribution in crowdsourcing literature.

Articles published in non-ISI listed journals have had an essential role in the initial theory development related to crowdsourcing. Scholars from the USA have authored approximately the same number of articles as scholars from all the European countries. Scholars from developing countries have been more active in authoring conference articles than journal articles. Top-tier journals have engaged in publishing on crowdsourcing only more recently. Crowdsourcing has proven to be beneficial in many tasks but the extant literature does not give much help to practitioners in capturing value from crowdsourcing. Even though understanding the motivations of crowds is crucial when planning crowdsourcing activities the various motivations in different contexts have not been explored sufficiently. A major concern regarding crowdsourcing has been the quality and accuracy of information that has been gathered through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing bears a lot of unused potential. For example, it can increase employment opportunities to low-income people in developing countries. On the other hand, more should be known of fair ways to organize crowdsourcing so that solution seekers do not get a chance to exploit the individual committing to provide solutions.

Research Limitations/Implications: The literature included in the study is extensive, but it is limited mainly in nine selected publishers only. However, in addition to the nine selected publishers 52 highly cited articles from other publishers have also been included.

Practical Implications: Crowdsourcing has much unused potential and the use of crowdsourcing is increasing rapidly. The study provides a thematic review of various applications of crowdsourcing.

Originality/Value: The study is the first of its kind to explore the development of crowdsourcing literature, discussing the loci and foci of extant articles and listing applications of crowdsourcing. Successful applications of crowdsourcing include idea generation, microtasking, citizen science, public participation, wikies, open source software, and citizen journalism.

Keywords: Application of crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing, literature review, outsourcing

Suggested Citation

Hossain, Mokter and Hossain, Mokter and Kauranen, Ilkka, Crowdsourcing: A Systematic Literature Review (May 4, 2015). Forthcoming in Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, Available at SSRN:

Mokter Hossain (Contact Author)

Qatar University ( email )

2713 Doha

Qatar University - Center for Entrepreneurship ( email )

2713 Doha

Ilkka Kauranen

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Helsinki, 00101

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