Accepted Paper:

Governing crowd-based innovations: sociotechnical reconfiguration through institutional work  


Eefje Cuppen (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

Crowd-based innovations (CBIs) (e.g. sharing platforms, citizen science etc) often occur in the context of well-established, institutional and governance structures and practices. We develop a framework for understanding how institutional work around CBIs reshapes sociotechnical configurations.

Paper long abstract:

The "crowd" increasingly seems to be key for innovation in all kind of sectors, partly enabled by ICT developments. Initiatives can be found around the crowdsourcing of problemsolving and data collection (e.g. apps and sensors to measure traffic, air or water quality), crowdfunding as a business model (including renewable energy), open platforms (where supply and demand meet each other), or the sharing economy (for example, houses or cars). Such initiatives provide many opportunities for innovations in socio-technical systems, but also significant challenges because they often occur in the context of traditional, well-established, institutional and governance structures and practices. The gap between these traditional structures and radically new initiatives creates tension. Existing rules, standards and practices are challenged, which raises questions about how quality, legitimacy, efficiency and supervision can be safeguarded in crowd-based innovations. In this paper we develop a framework for conceptualizing sociotechnical reconfiguration through the institutional work performed by actors, both engaged in and confronted by CBIs. For this, we draw on the model of institutional entrepreneurship by Battilana et al. (2009), expanded with strategies and responses of other actors in the field, for instance as facilitators or "institutional defenders" (Levy & Scully, 007). We empirically illustrate the framework with the examples of AirBNB, and a platform for peer-to-peer energy transactions.

Panel B03
Open design & manufacturing in the platform economy