© 2020

Unleashing the Crowd

Collaborative Solutions to Wicked Business and Societal Problems


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxix
  2. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ann Majchrzak, Arvind Malhotra
      Pages 3-46
  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 77-82
    2. Ann Majchrzak, Arvind Malhotra
      Pages 83-108
    3. Ann Majchrzak, Arvind Malhotra
      Pages 135-163
    4. Ann Majchrzak, Arvind Malhotra
      Pages 165-200
  4. Part III

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 299-302

About this book


This book disrupts the way practitioners and academic scholars think about crowds, crowdsourcing, innovation, and new organizational forms in this emerging period of ubiquitous access to the internet. The authors argue that the current approach to crowdsourcing unnecessarily limits the crowd to offering ideas, locking out those of us with knowledge about a problem.  They use data from 25 case studies of flash crowds — anonymous strangers answering online announcements to participate in a 7-10 day innovation challenge — half of whom were unleashed from the limitations of focusing on ideas.  Yet, these crowds were able to develop new business models, new product lines, and offer useful solutions to global problems in fields as diverse as health care insurance, software development, and societal change. This book, which offers a theory of collective production of innovative solutions explaining the practices that the crowds organically followed, will revolutionize current assumptions about how innovation and crowdsourcing should be managed for commercial as well as societal purposes.


open innovation IT platforms crowdsourcing open crowds virtual collaboration virtual teams digital innovation digital workplace

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

About the authors

Ann Majchrzak is Chaired Professor of Business Administration and Digital Innovation at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA. She is an internationally-known scholar in the fields of management, organization science, and information systems, as well as publishing in top practitioner journals.  This is her fourth book.

Arvind Malhotra is H. Allen Andrews Professor of Entrepreneurial Education and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. He is an expert on innovation processes, inter-organizational knowledge management, and virtual teams having published in many top-tier academic and practice oriented journals.

Bibliographic information


“This book is written in a unique, lucid, story-telling style that caters to both practitioners seeking tangible tactics for enhancing their use of the crowd and scholars seeking to understand the state of the crowdsourcing literature and the data and methods necessary to advance such research. ... The transformation sparked by this book will further ignite the imagination of practitioners and researchers of innovation alike as to the potential of the crowd.” (Daniel Armanios and Huiyan Zhang, Administrative Science Quarterly, November 6, 2020)