Understanding Volunteer Crowdsourcing from a Multiplex Perspective

47 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020 Last revised: 7 Jun 2022

See all articles by Yifan Yu

Yifan Yu

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business; Amazon

Xue (Jane) Tan

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business

Yong Tan

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Date Written: November 30, 2020

Abstract

Crowdsourcing is about leveraging information technologies to outsource tasks to a large group of people, who can either be paid workers or non-paid workers. Differing from monetarily incentivized workers, non-paid workers are more likely to be motivated by relations with co-workers. To understand how non-paid workers are affected by co-working relationships, we construct dynamic collaboration networks from 827,260 unique volunteers’ participation in 183,445 projects initiated by 74,556 non-profit organizations over nine years in the capital city of China. Following a multiplex perspective, we allow each type of organizations (i.e., school-based, community-based, other-based) to represent a separate network layer. We construct the measures of multiplex ties (i.e., social connections that are linked through multiple layers) and relational pluralism (i.e., involvement diversity in different layers). We find that volunteers with more multiplex ties and a lower level of relational pluralism have higher volunteering continuity and intensity of engagement on the platform, guaranteeing the supply of the volunteer labor force. However, they are less likely to explore unfamiliar organizations through inter-organization movement. We show that reduced movement rates negatively affect the development of small and newly-established organizations. Our work contributes to the literature on crowdsourcing and generates practical implications for managing volunteer crowdsourcing platforms.

Keywords: Volunteerism, crowdsourcing, multiplexity, relational pluralism

JEL Classification: A13

Suggested Citation

Yu, Yifan and Tan, Xue and Tan, Yong, Understanding Volunteer Crowdsourcing from a Multiplex Perspective (November 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3691421 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3691421

Yifan Yu (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

HOME PAGE: http://staff.washington.edu/yifanyu/pro/

Amazon ( email )

Xue Tan

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business ( email )

1309 East Tenth Street
Indianapolis, IN 47405-1701
United States

Yong Tan

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353226
Seattle, WA 98195-3226
United States

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