Firms, Crowds, and Innovation

Strategic Organization, 2017, Vol 15(2) 119-140

22 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2017

See all articles by Teppo Felin

Teppo Felin

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group; Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Michael Tushman

Harvard University - Organizational Behavior Unit

Date Written: October 12, 2017

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to suggest a (preliminary) taxonomy and research agenda for the topic of “firms, crowds, and innovation” and to provide an introduction to the associated special issue. We specifically discuss how various crowd-related phenomena and practices — for example, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, user innovation, and peer production — relate to theories of the firm, with particular attention on “sociality” in firms and markets. We first briefly review extant theories of the firm and then discuss three theoretical aspects of sociality related to crowds in the context of strategy, organizations, and innovation: (1) the functions of sociality (sociality as extension of rationality, sociality as sensing and signaling, sociality as matching and identity), (2) the forms of sociality (independent/aggregate and interacting/emergent forms of sociality), and (3) the failures of sociality (misattribution and misapplication). We conclude with an outline of future research directions and introduce the special issue papers and essays.

Keywords: crowdsourcing, innovation, open innovation, organization theory, strategy

JEL Classification: O3, O32, L17, L2, L26

Suggested Citation

Felin, Teppo and Lakhani, Karim R. and Tushman, Michael, Firms, Crowds, and Innovation (October 12, 2017). Strategic Organization, 2017, Vol 15(2) 119-140. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3051778

Teppo Felin (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/teppofelin2/

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6741 (Phone)

Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michael Tushman

Harvard University - Organizational Behavior Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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