Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 39 Number 4 2022 pp. 1064-1088

Motivating the Motivationally Diverse Crowd: Social Value Orientation and Reward Structure in Crowd Idea Generation

Yan, Bei and Hollingshead, Andrea B


Some people contribute ideas for prosocial reasons in crowdsourcing; others do so for selfish reasons. Extending the theory of motivated information processing, the research posits that prosocial and proself individuals respond differently to reward structures in crowd idea generation. Two online experiments measured participants’ prosocial versus proself orientation and manipulated whether participants received a competitive or cooperative reward structure. Study 2 also manipulated whether participants viewed an original or a common peer idea. Proselfs produced more ideas when receiving competitive rewards; the idea generation of prosocials was not affected by the reward structure. This interaction effect was mediated by task effort and moderated the impact of peer ideas. Proselfs generated the most ideas when viewing an original peer idea and receiving competitive rewards; this effect was not observed for prosocials. The study contributes to crowdsourcing research by demonstrating that participants’ response to reward structures depends on their social value orientation. The implication is that crowdsourcing organizers should design tasks and rewards so they motivate participants with both prosocial and proself orientations.

Key words and phrases: Social value orientation, prosocial motivation, crowdsourcing, idea generation, motivated information processing, crowdsourcing motivation