Today, we experience a constant increase in the popularity of collaborative digital platforms that invite users to participate in the production of the organization's products and services through the use of social crowdsourcing technologies. With the purpose to solve some of the world’s prevailing challenges, OpenIDEO is an example of a digital platform that uses crowdsourcing to facilitate a global community of users who share ideas and design solutions. This thesis sets out to explore how OpenIDEO’s use of the digital technology is part of shaping participation and collaboration with a focus on the communicative processes between the platform’s users. The research design for the thesis is an empirical case study of OpenIDEO where a mixed method approach is applied comprised of both qualitative netnographic observations and a quantitative content analysis. The empirical data collected for the thesis is interpreted through a theoretical framework that takes its outset in Orlikowski’s (1992) sociomaterial perspective. The analysis employs Hutchby’s (2001) concept of relational affordance combined with Leonardi’s (2013) distinction between individual and collective affordance. Further, Guldbrandsen and Just’s (2011) conceptualisation of online communication as a collaborative process is utilised to understand the conditions and context for participation and communication on OpenIDEO. The thesis consists of four sub¬analyses where the first sub¬analysis reveals how OpenIDEO encourages participation and presents insight as to which individual affordances that provide incentives for users to participate. The thesis’ second sub¬analysis discloses who participates, how they participate, and how collaboration is unfolded. Based on the findings from the second analysis, the third sub¬analysis reveals four collective affordances that the users employ to collaborate on the platform. The fourth and final sub¬analysis uncovers how the platform’s technology and social practices are interconnected and findings here suggest that the users’ actions and communication are conditional to both the platform’s technology and the social practices. Findings from the four sub¬analyses disclose that users have taken OpenIDEO’s invitation to participate and accordingly contribute with posts, comments and likes. Hereby, it is deducted that the technological structure of the platform influences the participation through three levels of participation and several degrees of collaboration. Based on these findings, the thesis concludes that digital technology influences participation and collaboration through the technological design of the platform that provides users with both opportunities and limitations for participating in the collaborative process of online communication. The collaborative process is thus conditioned by the position that contributors achieve according to the different types of participation and collaboration, which contributes to the understanding of interconnectivity between the user’s communicative contribution and a digital platform’s technology.
|Educations||MSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||108|