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Guest Talk: Opening Up LEGO: Organizational Learning With and About Crowdsourcing

Dr. Daniel Schlag­wein

Date/Time: 13.07.2017, 16:00

Loca­tion: D2.2.094


Recent theo­ries of “crowd­sour­cing” have advanced our under­stan­ding of some of the causal mecha­nisms under­lying this IT-enabled “open” pheno­menon once it is in place. However, much less is known about the process of how IT-enabled crowd­sour­cing actually emerges at orga­ni­sa­tions over time. In this study, we develop a process theory of the deve­lop­ment of crowd­sour­cing at orga­ni­sa­tions. The analysis is based on an in-depth longi­tu­dinal field study of how crowd­sour­cing emerged at LEGO over the years 2000-2016. In this period, LEGO changed their crowd­sour­cing model repea­tedly and substan­ti­ally. The lenses of orga­ni­sa­tional learning and IT affor­dances informed our theo­ri­sing about our analysis. We come to claim that 1) the invol­ve­ment of non-­mem­bers in crowd­sour­cing can be used to enhance orga­ni­sa­tional learning (learning with crowd­sour­cing), 2) the orga­ni­sa­tion needs to learn about crowd­sour­cing through reco­gnising emer­ging IT affor­dance to stra­te­gi­cally develop their crowd­sour­cing capa­bi­li­ties over time (learning about crowd­sour­cing). Accor­ding to our analysis, there is limited value in concep­tua­li­sing and cano­ni­sing a gene­ra­lised stra­tegy or model of crowd­sour­cing. Instead, orga­ni­sa­tions need to develop “their” crowd­sour­cing model. Crowd­sour­cing needs to be iterated and enacted differ­ently over time as it is both histo­ri­cally path-­de­pen­dent (due to prior expe­ri­ence and learning) and sensi­tive to emer­ging IT affor­dances rela­tive to the orga­ni­sa­tion. The paper discusses impli­ca­tions of the analysis for prior theo­ries of crowd­sour­cing and orga­ni­sa­tional learning.


Dr. Daniel Schlag­wein is a Senior Lecturer of Infor­ma­tion Systems at the UNSW Busi­ness School in Sydney. His rese­arch is focused on IT-enabled open­ness, crowd­sour­cing and digital work. Prior to ente­ring academia, he was a consul­tant in the ICT industry. Daniel has authored over 30 peer-­re­viewed papers, and has published in leading academic jour­nals such as the Infor­ma­tion Systems Journal, the Journal of Infor­ma­tion Tech­no­logy, the Journal of the Asso­cia­tion for Infor­ma­tion Systems and The Journal of Stra­tegic Infor­ma­tion Systems. His rese­arch has been featured in, for example, Sky News, The Sydney Morning Herald, McKinsey Quar­terly, Asso­ciated Press, Busi­nessT­hink and Pulse. Daniel has esta­blished the annual track on "Open­ness and IT" at the Euro­pean Confe­rence on Infor­ma­tion Systems and has edited two special issues in his rese­arch domain (Elec­tronic Markets in 2015, Journal of Infor­ma­tion Tech­no­logy in 2017). Daniel received the UNSW Vice­-­Chan­cellor's Award for Teaching Excel­lence in 2014. In the same year, the UNSW Busi­ness School students granted Daniel their "Student Choice Award". He was a Visiting Professor at the Copen­hagen Busi­ness School and New York Univer­sity's Leonard H. Stern School of Busi­ness in 2015. Daniel was awarded the Asso­cia­tion for Infor­ma­tion Systems (AIS) Early Career Award in 2016. In the AIS Rese­arch Ranking 2016, for publi­ca­tions in the disci­pline’s leading jour­nals 2014–16, Daniel is ranked among the 100 most produc­tive rese­ar­chers. Daniel has been appointed as an Asso­ciate Editor of the Infor­ma­tion Systems Journal in 2016. He is a Member of the Academic Board of UNSW Sydney (2017-18). Daniel has esta­blished and teaches the Infor­ma­tion Systems part of the Indi­ge­nous Pre-Busi­ness Summer School.

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