Why Take the Risk? Motivations of Highly Skilled Workers to Participate in Crowdworking Platforms

Elham Shafiei Gol, Mari-Klara Stein, Michel Avital

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


Crowdwork is a new class of work arrangement that involves compensated work organized through online labor platforms. Crowdwork platforms that focus on complex projects and require skillful, creative workers rely on winner-takes-all competition among multiple crowdworkers, where the likelihood of winning and getting paid is relatively small. Given that skillful, creative workers are in high demand, it begs the question why they would take the risk involved in crowdwork in lieu of the certainty that comes with traditional work arrangements. Subsequently, in this short paper, we explore what motivates such professionals to seek work in crowdwork platforms. We conducted an exploratory qualitative study based on interviews with crowdworkers on the Topcoder platform. Our preliminary findings suggest that while highly-skilled, creative crowdworkers may exhibit risk-seeking behavior in the context of employment, they are motivated to endure the assumed risk by a sense of psychological safety, a sense of autonomy as well as self-growth opportunities, which are critical to attracting and retaining professional workers. This intriguing finding suggests that gig economy platforms may offer not only ephemeral jobs, but also an appealing work environment that can nurture professional workers and cultivate sustainable communities of practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 39th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2018
ISBN (Electronic)9780996683173
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event39th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2018: Bridging the Internet of People, Data, and Things - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 13 Dec 201816 Dec 2018
Conference number: 39


Conference39th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems


  • Crowdwork
  • Creative work
  • Risk
  • Motivation
  • Psychological safety
  • Topcoder

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