Understanding Volunteer Crowdsourcing from a Multiplex Perspective
47 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020 Last revised: 7 Jun 2022
Date Written: November 30, 2020
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
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