In 2005, when Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson, editors of Wired Magazine, were discussing how companies use the Internet to outsource work to a crowd of individuals, nobody was able to foresee the rise of crowdsourcing. Seven years later, in 2012, IBM announced the plan to reduce its number of employees in favor of crowdsourcing, which exemplifies the growth in its significance.

In 2006, Amazon introduced its Elastic Compute Cloud. Industry expected Google, IBM, or Microsoft to be the first movers in this domain, but it was a retail company on the Internet that was able to offer ubiquitous cloudsourcing services in a pay-per-use scheme. In 2013, the cloud ecosystem has become multi-faceted and is still growing. Salesforce, for instance, employs over 10,000 staff to offer Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other social enterprise solutions as software services ready to use upon subscription.

Little attention has been paid to the fact that both concepts—crowdsourcing and cloudsourcing—are closely related to each other. Effectively assigning labor to a distinctive group of professionals requires digital mass media to facilitate access to a large number of people. It also requires the allocation and coordination of tasks. In turn, crowdsourcing, as a key segment of social computing, facilitates the adoption of cloud computing offers.

Since academia has hardly made efforts to address these topics in a scholarly journal, we felt it is time to do so. Based on our cooperation in the virtual Research Institute of Software and Service Ecosystems (RISE) at Mannheim, Brisbane, and Melbourne,Footnote 1 we organized conferences and conference tracks on the two topics. Together with our call for papers in 2012, we laid the foundation for receiving 19 high quality submissions on crowdsourcing and cloudsourcing for this special issue.

After multiple rounds of double-blind reviews, we are proud to present six scholarly articles for this special issue that meet the quality standards of the contributing reviewers and guest editors. The first set of articles address contemporary facets of crowdsourcing. Christopher Harris and Chen Wu use tri-reference point theory to evaluate risk attitudes and the effects of financial incentives in a gamified crowdsourcing task. Then, Michael Nofer and Oliver Hinz ask the question whether crowds on the Internet are wiser than experts and attempt to answer it in light of a stock prediction community. In the third article Dirk Lüttgens, Patrick Pollok, David Antons, and Frank Piller analyze the wisdom of the crowd and the capabilities of a few to elaborate internal success factors of crowdsourcing for innovation. Subsequently, Shkodran Zogaj, Ulrich Bretschneider, and Jan Marco Leimeister focus on managing crowdsourced software testing, offering insights into the challenges of a crowdsourcing intermediary.

Following these crowdsourcing contributions, we present two scholarly articles on cloudsourcing. Steffi Haag and Andreas Eckhardt report the results of a scientometric and content-based literature analysis on organizational cloud service adoption and derive future research perspectives. Sabrina Hauff, Jan Huntgeburth, and Daniel Veit contribute the second cloud-related paper. They explore uncertainties in a marketplace for cloud computing in the financial service industry on the basis of a revelatory case study.

Our special issue is complemented by an invited teaching case study that did not undergo a double-blind review process. Erran Carmel and Evgeny Káganer present the teaching case of Ayudarum. It focuses on an Austrian crowdsourcing company in the Startup Chile Accelerator Program and provides an opportunity to bring crowdsourcing experiences into the classroom.

On the basis of these articles, we have assembled a special issue that covers relevant topics in the field of crowdsourcing and cloudsourcing, which have been investigated in a rigorous manner.

We would like to thank everyone who supported us in crafting this special issue. We offer our deepest gratitude especially to all authors and reviewers who submitted their manuscripts and reviews throughout the past months. Without their contributions, we would not have been able to put this special issue together. We are also grateful to Professor Dr. h.c. Günther Fandel, Editor in Chief of the Journal of Business Economics, as well as his assistant Thomas Solga for their ongoing assistance in rolling out this volume. Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Marko Nöhren from the University of Mannheim who has been a critical asset with respect to the administrative and managerial preparation of this special issue, as well as to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which supported us in establishing the underlying international cooperation in Education and Research in the Asia–Pacific region.

Mannheim, Brisbane, and Melbourne, April 1, 2014.


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Correspondence to Martin Schader.

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Schader, M., Heinzl, A., Indulska, M. et al. Editorial. J Bus Econ 84, 277–279 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11573-014-0717-5

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