Value Appropriation in Crowdsourcing Activities: How Solvers Enable Richer Trading Zones

J. Nils Foege, Ghita Dragsdahl Lauritzen, Frank Tietze

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Despite the growing interest in intermediated crowdsourcing, literature has yet to examine the risks and challenges for solving individuals. So far, it remains unclear whether solvers perceive only the commercial and personal benefits of participating in crowdsourcing or if they likewise fear that it sets their intellectual property (IP) at risk of being infringed. In this article, we contribute to the literature by investigating solvers' value appropriation concerns, identifying mechanisms mitigating these risks, and elaborating on the circumstances and timing under which these mechanisms are most effectively used. Furthermore, we identify these mechanisms as coordination practices that enact richer trading zones in crowdsourcing contests. We analyze 1,149 survey responses, 2,149 answers to five open-ended narrative questions, and 27 interviews of solvers participating in crowdsourcing contests. Our results show that solvers have indeed strong value appropriation concerns and perceive crowdsourcing as comprising deficiently rich trading zones. As a response, they employ and combine formal and informal mechanisms as coordination practices to enact richer trading zones and accrue rents from their knowledge-i.e., (1) patent thicketing, (2) patent pending, (3) agreeing on non- disclosure, (4) selective revealing, (5) preventive publishing, (6) solution black- boxing, (7) creating complementary assets, and (8) intermediary bypassing
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Crowdsourcing
  • Trading zone
  • Value appropriation

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