Crowd Work

Crowd Work

Initial situation

In recent years, crowdsourcing has become a serious alternative to task processing for many companies. In this respect, the crowdsourcing model is an innovative concept for the distribution and implementation of corporate tasks, in the context of which not only - as in the classic sense - internal or internal functions, but also cross-functional and external individuals or workers are involved in the service creation process can be. As a result, this concept represents a completely new type of work organization (also known as “crowd work”), which is accompanied by changes on both the employee and the employer's side. However, it is largely unclear which change processes are to be expected and how they will take shape - especially due to the fact that hardly any scientific knowledge is available on this relatively new concept.

Project goal

Against the background of this situation, the aim of the project is to carry out the first in-depth scientific analyzes of crowdsourcing and crowd work in a corporate context in order to derive data and fact-based implications for crowdsourcing for the organization and design of “work in the crowd” to be able to. Such a study can form the basis for being able to design crowd work as a form of work organization in a fair and effective manner. Due to the fact that crowdsourcing is a very multifaceted phenomenon, there is a need for research and action at different levels.

The project investigates how crowdsourcing is explicitly used by companies. In this context, the two different forms of crowdsourcing, “internal” and “external” crowdsourcing, as well as possible hybrid forms are examined. The focus is on the analysis of the work organization and work processes in each of the two scenarios. The next task within the project is to analyze the working conditions (work equipment, workload, workload, etc.) in the crowd and to conduct a large-scale study among crowd workers in Germany for the first time. In addition, the attitudes and expectations of works councils are to be examined. This makes it possible to determine, among other things, the status of works councils with regard to crowdsourcing - e.g. whether and to what extent they are familiar with the topic. Related to this is the question of the future representation of the interests of crowd workers. As a result, ideas and scenarios must also be worked out that provide information about the possibilities, the type and the roles of works councils in the context of crowd work. Such an investigation can form the basis for being able to design crowd work as a form of work organization in a fair and effective manner, then to be able to embed it as smoothly as possible in the company processes and to be able to introduce it accordingly, taking into account the interests of the workforce.

In this respect, the project includes a total of four overarching strands of work that are interlinked and mutually beneficial and are to be worked on scientifically on the basis of different methodological approaches. The results of the project provide a solid basis for discussions about an employee-friendly design of work organization and working conditions within the framework of crowdsourcing.

Project partners

  • Fachgebiet Wirtschaftsinformatik, Universität Kassel, Prof. Dr. Jan Marco Leimeister
  • Hans-Böckler-Stiftung