Where is the power in numbers? Understanding firm and consumer power when crowdsourcing

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8 Scopus citations


This work utilizes the theory of social power as a lens through which to analyze the power structure of firms and consumers involved in crowdsourcing and discusses the managerial implications of this power balance. The results of this analysis reveal how power is structured differently in each form of crowdsourcing, with consumer power being strongest in the case of idea crowdsourcing and weakest in the case of microtask crowdsourcing. These differences in power have implications for managers who initiate and maintain crowdsourcing endeavors. Understanding the structure of consumer power in different types of crowdsourcing allows firms to better prepare for the wide range of possible outcomes as consumers inevitably push their own agendas regardless of whether or not these agendas are aligned with those of the firm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalBusiness Horizons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Consumer collectives
  • Consumer empowerment
  • Consumer power
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Power theory
  • Social power


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