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Gert-Jan de Vreede

Crowdsourcing: Expanding collaboration from organizations into communities
Gert-Jan Vreede, Durham Distinguished Professor
College of Information Science & Technology, University of Nebraska Omaha

Friday, November 7, 2014
noon–1 p.m.
Brickyard (BYENG) 210, Tempe campus [map]

The ubiquity of collaboration technologies allows companies, non-profits, and governmental organizational to engage large numbers of people both within and outside their organizational boundaries. This has given rise to new forms of collaboration: From small group, focused and time-boxed collaboration, to an environment in which unstructured, longitudinal mass collaboration is the norm. Specific examples include the Linux open source community, Wikipedia, and Open Innovation. A particularly interesting new collaboration phenomenon is crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is “…the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.” (Howe, 2006, p.1). The popularity of crowdsourcing is grounded in the belief that a large group of volunteer amateur individuals can outperform a dedicated small team of experts or professionals. Recent studies have shown that crowdsourcing can be a very productive approach for organizations to (1) farm out large scale information processing tasks that can be split into many discrete and independent sub-activities, (2) to solicit innovative solutions to a problem in a competition style format, and (3) to engage a large group of people in collaborative problem solving discussions. However, while the proliferation of crowdsourcing service providers illustrates the popularity of the phenomenon, there still is little understanding about approaches to purposefully design processes and systems to support such mass collaboration. This presentation will discuss recent research advances and discuss future research opportunities.

Gert-Jan de Vreede is the Durham Distinguished Professor at the College of Information Science & Technology. He also is a University Lecturer in Management, Communication & IT at the Management Center Innsbruck, Austria. At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he is the Managing Director of the Center for Collaboration Science and the Director of the PhD in Information Technology program. He was a visiting professor at the University of Arizona and the University of Pretoria. He has advised numerous national and international organizations on information systems development, collaboration technologies, and collaborative practices.

His research focuses on crowdsourcing, collaborative software engineering, Collaboration Engineering, and the facilitation of team work. He has published over 250 refereed journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters. His research has appeared in journals such as Journal of Management Information Systems, Management Information Systems Quarterly Executive, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Small Group Research, Communications of the ACM, Group Decision and Negotiation, International Journal of e-Collaboration, Journal of the OR Society, Human Factors, and the Journal of Creativity and Innovation Management. He was named the most productive Group Support Systems researcher world-wide from 2000-2005 in a comprehensive research profiling study.

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