DOI: 10.1287/isre.2020.0413 ISSN: 1047-7047

Crowdworking: Nurturing Expert-Centric Absorptive Capacity

Elham Shafiei Gol, Michel Avital, Mari-Klara Stein
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Management Information Systems

Organizations increasingly engage with external communities for value generation through an ever-growing multitude of digital services. Absorptive capacity, or the organizational capability to identify, assimilate, and apply new knowledge for commercial ends, is a key determinant of how organizations successfully generate value from external sources of knowledge and sustain a competitive advantage. Crowdworking—a novel form of digitally mediated work—allows organizations to hire on-demand highly skilled external experts to leverage their knowledge, skills, and networks. The approach of integrating crowdworking into organizations is increasingly gaining traction among large corporations seeking to harness the knowledge in external communities for value generation. Building on an in-depth embedded case study in a large organization that relies on two established crowdwork platforms, we explore and shed light on how the organization developed its crowdworking-related absorptive capacity to generate value from external experts. The paper offers new insights into the prevailing modus operandi related to harnessing external knowledge in today’s organizations.

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