Internal Crowd

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Starting Situation

Based on the successful HBS project "Crowd work – working in the cloud", this project represents the next step in the scientific analysis of digital work forms. With the advancing possibilities of digitalization, companies increasingly use crowdsourcing as an alternative principle to work organization – the so-called "internal crowd work". Here, both internal and external workers of the company are involved in the service creation process via special IT platforms. The internal workforce acts in this case as a pool of internal crowd workers who can be accessed flexibly. The practice shows very clearly that internal crowd work is used in almost all value-adding areas of a company. Even though this work model results in many advantages for companies (e.g. increased flexibility), the serious changes on the internal workforce must also be considered. Internal crowd work leads to an internal and external "liquefaction" of work processes and structures, which will change especially the working conditions for the workforce. In this respect, these effects have been unexplored so far. The experience of internal crowd work from the perspective of the affected employees is therefore the focus of this project. Primarily, the interdependencies with existing structures of particular crowd workers will be analyzed.

Aim of the project

The aim of the project is to conduct scientific analyzes of internal crowd work in the company context in order to point out the possibilities for the actors in the internal crowd based on data and facts. Here, the analysis of existing forms and the work experience from the perspective of the particular crowd worker is of central importance. In the context of a progressive erosion of company boundaries as well as the internationalization of work, this project also considers the effects of internal crowd work on the individual self-determination of employees as well as aspects of collective participation. The findings obtained from this study are then to be examined and evaluated on the basis of existing valid results in the field of external crowd work. Due to the international relevance of the project, the results are to be made accessible to a broad public.

Project Partners

  • Chair for Information Systems (Prof. Dr. Leimeister), University of Kassel
  • Industrial Union (Ger.: Industriegewerkschaft) Metall (IG Metall)
  • ver.di – United Service Union (Ger.: Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft)


The project is funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation and runs from January 1st, 2017 till June 30th , 2018.