Problems, Theories, and Governing the Crowd

14 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2016 Last revised: 10 Jun 2016

See all articles by Jackson A. Nickerson

Jackson A. Nickerson

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Robert Wuebker

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business

Todd Zenger

University of Utah

Date Written: April 13, 2016

Abstract

Research and recommendations on innovation through crowdsourcing is diverse and often contradictory, providing little guidance on when, where, and under what conditions to use various kinds of crowdsourcing. This paper responds by arguing that focal economic actors, as organization designers, catalyze innovation when they efficiently match attributes of the problem or attributes of a domain of problems to modes of organizing problem finding and solution search. Four basic insights drive this approach. First, sourcing from the crowd is, fundamentally, a governance choice. Second, crowdsourcing is an amalgam of both problem finding and problem solving through the crowd. Third, the attributes of the focal actor shapes problem formulation, solution search, and the governance of that process. Fourth, the act of defining problems reveals, and often generates, a vast residual domain of problems — often unseen by the focal economic actor — that are implicitly deferred to the crowd to find and potentially solve.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Open Innovation, Problem Finding/Problem Solving

Suggested Citation

Nickerson, Jackson A. and Wuebker, Robert Joseph and Zenger, Todd R., Problems, Theories, and Governing the Crowd (April 13, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2764590 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2764590

Jackson A. Nickerson

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-6366 (Phone)
314-935-6359 (Fax)

Robert Joseph Wuebker (Contact Author)

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business ( email )

1645 East Campus Circle Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9304
United States

HOME PAGE: http://about.me/rwuebker

Todd R. Zenger

University of Utah ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
1655 East Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States
801 585-3981 (Phone)
801 581-7939 (Fax)

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