Creativity of Participants in Crowdsourcing Communities: The Effects of Promotion Focus and Extrinsic Motivation

Creativity of Participants in Crowdsourcing Communities: The Effects of Promotion Focus and Extrinsic Motivation

Lingfei Zou, Shaobo Wei, Weiling Ke, Kwok Kee Wei
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/JDM.2020070103
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Organizations can tap the wisdom of the crowd through digital platforms of crowdsourcing for ideation. However, we have limited understanding of factors affecting the innovativeness of ideas and solutions submitted by individual participants. Drawing upon self-determination theory and regulatory focus theory, we investigate how participants' regulatory focus and extrinsic motivation aroused by incentivizing mechanisms affect their creativity in crowdsourcing communities. Based on the data collected from 164 participants in a crowdsourcing platform, we find that promotion focus positively influences participants' creativity, and different types of extrinsic motivation have differential effects. Although external, identified, and integrated motivation positively affect participants' creativity, introjected motivation is not significantly related to participants' creativity. In addition, external and identified motivation strengthen the relationship between promotion focus and creativity. The theoretical contributions and managerial implications of this study are discussed.
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Advances in information technology (IT) transform the way organizations form relationships with the large flexible labor pool provided by Internet users (Brynjolfsson, McAfee, and Spence, 2014; Cui, Kumar Pm, and Gonçalves, 2019; Jiang and Wang, 2019; Lukyanenko and Parsons, 2018). Crowdsourcing is an innovative practice enabled by IT wherein an organization outsources a task to a “crowd,” rather than to a designated “agent” (Howe, 2006; Jeppesen and Lakhani, 2010). Online platforms enable organizations to use crowdsourcing for different tasks, such as product testing, logistics, production, after sales support, and ideation (Durward, Blohm, and Leimeister, 2016). In particular, crowdsourcing for ideation provides organizations with opportunities to tap the wisdom of the crowd to acquire innovative ideas for their products, services, and business processes (Howe, 2006; Nambisan and Baron, 2009, 2010). By issuing calls for ideas and solutions, organizations can reach out to individuals outside the organization and provide rewards to the individuals who generate the best solutions (Franke, Keinz, and Klausberger, 2013).

Organizations can reap significant benefits from crowdsourcing for ideation as they can attract a large and diverse group of people to engage in complex innovation (e.g., Afuah and Tucci, 2012; Franke et al., 2013; Huang, Vir Singh, and Srinivasan, 2014; Terwiesch and Xu, 2008). However, ensuring that the ideas generated by crowdsourcing ideators (hereafter participants) are creative enough to meet the organization’s expectations is difficult (Blohm, Bretschneider, Leimeister, and Krcmar, 2011; Kevin J Boudreau, 2012; Leimeister, Huber, Bretschneider, and Krcmar, 2009). On the one hand, unoriginal ideas and solutions submitted by the crowd would defeat the organization’s purpose of using crowdsourcing to acquire innovative ideas, and I would make crowdsourcing costly as the organization needs to expend resources in identifying the winning solutions (Cui et al., 2019; Wang, Feng, Jiang, and Xie, 2019). On the other hand, poor ideas and solutions do not allow the participants to get the desired reward, thus discouraging future participation in crowdsourcing (Hofstetter, Zhang, and Herrmann, 2018). Therefore, the antecedents of participants’ creativity that determines the innovativeness of ideas and solutions submitted in crowdsourcing communities must be investigated (Bayus, 2013; Liu, Yang, Adamic, and Chen, 2014).

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