Crowdsourcing harnesses the potential of large and open networks of people. It is a relatively new phenomenon and attracted substantial interest in practice. Related research, however, lacks a theoretical foundation. We propose a system-theoretical perspective on crowdsourcing systems to address this gap and illustrate its applicability by using it to classify crowdsourcing systems. By deriving two principal dimensions from theory, we identify four fundamental types of crowdsourcing systems that help to distinguish important features of such systems. We analyse their respective characteristics and discuss implications and requirements for various aspects related to the design of such systems. Our results demonstrate that systems theory can inform the study of crowdsourcing systems. The identified system types and the implications on their design may prove useful for researchers to frame future studies and for practitioners to identify the right crowdsourcing systems for a particular purpose.
Geiger, David; Rosemann, Michael; and Fielt, Erwin, "Crowdsourcing Information Systems – A Systems Theory Perspective" (2011). ACIS 2011 Proceedings. 33.