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Seminar: Generating valuable contributions to crowdsourcing over time: A tale of apples and oranges?

Erasmus Research Institute of Management

A major challenge in crowdsourcing is the continuous supply of high-quality contributions from the crowd. Contest organizers therefore need to maintain an active network of external contributors and rely in particular on the contributions of serial solvers. While the existing literature has analyzed the role of solvers’ past success on the quality of their future submissions in the context of firm-hosted ideation contests, we argue that these findings cannot be easily generalized to the context of intermediary-hosted problem solving contests. We use data from 561 contests hosted by a crowdsourcing service provider that helps clients solicit solutions to complex technology problems. Based on 9,977 solution proposals submitted by 6,790 solvers over three years, we find that past success in generating high-quality solutions to technical problems reduces the likelihood for individual solvers to provide successful solutions in future contests. While this finding is consistent with previous research, the theoretical mechanism underlying this effect is likely to be different. Interestingly, we also find that context shifting (i.e. proposing solutions to problems from a different domain) does not buffer the negative main effect, but exacerbates it. Our study sheds light on the different roles of knowledge and domain expertise in different crowdsourcing contexts.


  • Patrick Pollok (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aken)


Thomas Moorelaan,
3062 PA Rotterdam