The ubiquitous penetration of Internet technologies in modern societies has created new forms of working, one such being microtask crowdsourcing. This phenomenon requires further research, especially when the attendant ethical issues are considered. In this paper, we investigate crowdworking – the individual behaviors associated with microtask crowdsourcing work. In particular, we address two questions: (1) how do individuals participate in crowdworking? (2) do their participation behaviors differ? Our findings point to the emergence of a new digital divide – one that is present on our own doorstep, not in some distant land. We analyze data collected from 150 crowdworkers registered on Amazon Mechanical Turk. A mixed research approach is adopted. Quantitative data analysis reveals significant differences in the degree of participation by individuals from different demographic backgrounds. Qualitative data analysis confirms prior studies in that job autonomy and workplace flexibility make crowdworking attractive but in addition we identify that disadvantaged groups (lower education; otherwise unemployed) perceive these attractions differently from more privileged groups. Our contributions include extending understanding of microtask crowdsourcing and our conceptualization of a new form of digital divide. We also offer ethical considerations with regard to the design of crowdworking platforms, to account for differences in the reported use and perceived value of the IT-enabled platforms for crowdworkers.
Deng, Xuefei (Nancy); Galliers, Robert D.; and Joshi, K.D., "CROWDWORKING - A NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE? IS DESIGN AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS" (2016). Research Papers. 148.