Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


While the crowdsourcer’s job is to encourage valuable contributions and sustained commitment in a cost- effective manner, it seems as if the primary attention of management and research is still centered on the evaluation of contributions rather than the crowd. As many crowd- sourcers lack the resources to successfully execute such projects, crowdsourcing intermediaries play an increas- ingly important role. First studies dealt with internal management challenges of incorporating an intermediary. However, the issue of how intermediaries influence crowdsourcees’ psychological and behavioral responses, further referred to as engagement, has not been addressed yet. Consequently, two leading research questions guide this paper: (1) How can the engagement process of crowdsourcees be conceptualized? (2) How and why do crowdsourcing intermediaries impact crowdsourcees’ engagement? This study extends existing knowledge by offering IS-researchers a process perspective on engage- ment and exploring the underlying mechanisms and IT- enabled stimuli that foster value-creation in a mediated and non-mediated setting. A theoretical process model is first conceptualized and then explored with insights from two common cases in the growing field of crowd testing. By triangulating platform and interview data, initial proposi- tions concerning the role of specific stimuli and the inter- mediary within the engagement process are derived. It is proposed that crowdsourcing enterprises, incorporating intermediaries, have the potential to generate a desired engagement state when perceived stimuli under their con- trol belong to the so-called group of ‘‘game changers’’ and ‘‘value adders’’, while the intermediary controls mainly ‘‘risk factors’’ for absorbing negative experiences. Apart from the theoretical relevance of studying mediated engagement processes and explaining voluntary use and participation in a socio-technical system, findings support decisions on how to effectively incorporate platform intermediaries.