Crowdwork Platforms: Juxtaposing Centralized and Decentralized Governance

Elham Shafiei Gol, Michel Avital, Mari-Klara Stein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Crowdwork is a novel form of digitally mediated work arrangement that is managed and organized through online labor platforms. This paper focuses on the governance of platforms that facilitate creative work—that is, complex work tasks that require high-level skill and creative workers. Crowdwork platform governance faces numerous challenges as a result of technology mediation, scalable and distributed workers, and temporary work arrangements. Creative crowdwork platforms, such as Topcoder, typically require additional governance structures to manage complex tasks. However, we know relatively little about creative crowdwork platform governance, as most existing studies focus on routine work platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk. Accordingly, this paper explores how incumbent and insurgent creative crowdwork platforms are governed under centralized and decentralized modes. We conducted a comparative case study based on the analysis of two different cases: Topcoder, a successful commercial platform with a largely centralized governance structure, and CanYa, an emerging innovative platform based on blockchain technology with more decentralized governance. We identified and classified different governance elements related to work control and work coordination. In addition, we explored the characteristics of creative crowdwork platform governance with different degrees of centralization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECIS 2019 Proceedings
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781733632508
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event27th European Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems for a Sharing Society, ECIS 2019: Information Systems for a Sharing Society - Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 8 Jun 201914 Jun 2019
Conference number: 27


Conference27th European Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems for a Sharing Society, ECIS 2019
LocationStockholm University
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • Crowdwork governance
  • Creative crowdwork
  • Centralized platforms
  • Decentralized platforms
  • Blockchain
  • Tokenomics

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