Individuals and organizations facing a task or problem can choose to handle it on their own or task someone else. In the latter case, that is, accessing outside resources, mobilizing crowds can play an important role. We refer to crowdsourcing as the usage of web-based platforms to call on large, diverse sets of ex-ante unidentified individuals (crowd) to engage in solving problems identified and defined by organizations.
Crowdsourcing still seems to carry significant novelty for scholars and practitioners alike, but, arguably, it has become a buzzword. Buzzwords are over used; consequently, their meanings often get overextended, blurred and distorted. It is time to reassess and clarify the concept crowdsourcing. That is the goal of our talk. First, we define crowdsourcing and unpack the necessary conditions for successful crowdsourcing. Second, we differentiate between four different types of crowdsourcing, and, third, we examine the consequences and the ethical challenges of each type for (a digital) society.