What Predicts Crowdsourcing Participation? It’s Not As Easy As You Think #Research

The jury: François Pétavy (CEO of eYeka), Prof. Decuadin (Toulouse University), Prof. Le Nagard (ESSEC Business School), Rector Steyer (Sorbonne University), me, Prof. Lemoine (Sorbonne University), Prof. Morisse (ESSCA School of Management)

The PhD jury: François Pétavy (CEO of eYeka), Prof. Decaudin (Toulouse University), Prof. Le Nagard (ESSEC Business School), Rector Steyer (Sorbonne University), me, Prof. Lemoine (Sorbonne University) and Prof. Morisse (ESSCA School of Management)

On Wednesday January 13th, I defended my PhD within the prestigious walls of Sorbonne University. The topic was crowdsourcing, specifically it was to understand crowdsourcing participation by looking at some key predictors such as peoples’ attitudes towards the creative brief or perceived peer pressure. The results of the thesis – the result of a 4-year long collaboration with eYeka and its community – indicates that peoples’ participation in contests depends on many different factors.

A classical thesis first « explores » the topic, then proposes hypotheses as part of a research model, and finally « verifies » these hypothese statistically. After dozens of interviews with creatives from across the globe (including Florian from Germany, Marina or David from France) and a lot of reading, I decided to focus on 4 possible predictors of participation in my model:

  1. Peoples’ attitudes towards the contest brand;
  2. Peoples’ attitudes towards the creative brief;
  3. Peoples’ attitudes towards the crowdsourcing platform;
  4. Perceived peer pressure from peoples’ social circles.

Which ones are most linked to peoples participation? Do creatives join contests because they love the brand? Because they enjoy a great brief? Because they love the platform and its staff? Or because their friends & relatives encourage them to participate? To find answers, we sent out a survey among the community, promised an iPad to a randomly chosen lucky winner, and received over 1,200 complete responses in about 6 months. Then I crunched the data.

Do creatives join contests because they love the brand, the brief, the platform, or because their relatives encourage them?

The results showed that participation is the result of a variety of coexisting elements. I indeed found that participation intention is predicted by the members’ attitude towards the platform, the attitude towards the brief, but not by the attitude towards the brand. Peer pressure is another predictor – the strongest one actually – to be positively correlated to participation intention.

I found that peer pressure is actually the strongest predictor of participation intention

The frustrating thing is that it’s an element that neither crowdsourcing platforms nor brands can really control, right? You can do your best to have great brands, to write challenging briefs, or to nurture a great relationship with your community members, but it’s difficult to create a supportive and creativity-fostering environment for your members. It’s fantastic when peer influence leads people to participate, but you can’t do much about it when they don’t. Should crowdsourcing be more advertised? Should referral programs be started? Should there be more education about its value for creatives?There is certainly a lot more to explore!

You can have great brands, challenging briefs, or a great relationship with your community… it’s difficult to control members’ social environment

I wrote everything down in a 400+ page document, worked on a clear 20-minute presentation of the results, and organized the PhD defense at Sorbonne University. The jury was comprised of respected and esteemed academics who know the fields of crowdsourcing, open innovation or consumer behavior very well. I was also fortunate to have François Pétavy, CEO of eYeka and practical expert in the field, join the jury.

Here are some pictures shared by myself or friends & colleagues who were kind enough to attend:

Jury's table for my PhD defense at the Sorbonne's Liard Amphitheatre

Coming of age #PhD #crowdsourcing Une photo publiée par Nicolas Borgis (@nborgis) le


It was a great day and an event that marks the end of a long journey. Beside the personal satisfaction to be Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), it has been a fantastic collaboration with Sorbonne University, eYeka colleagues, the community… one that allowed us to better understand crowdsourcing participation and its value for brands. Now I’m looking forward to help more brands and organizations leverage the collective creative power of eYeka’s  community! Do you have a challenge to brief the community on?

Here is the abstract and the citation of this work:

Abstract: The objective of this thesis is to better understand the participation of internet users in creative crowdsourcing activities, which is often used in marketing to generate new innovation and/or communication ideas. After providing a definition and a conceptual delimitation of the term, we propose a literature review about the participants and their motivations to contribute. We then present the results of three exploratory studies which help us better understanding who these participants are and what influences their participation on a crowdsourcing platform. This literature review and the results of our exploratory studies then allow us to propose a theoretical model based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), and to test it with a questionnaire sent to eYeka community members. The analysis of 1,261 responses as well as secondary data reveals that participation intention is predicted by the members’ attitude towards the brief (which is, in turn, best predicted by the task’s perceived autonomy) and the attitude towards the platform, but not by the attitude towards the brand which sponsors of the contest. Peer pressure is another antecedent to be positively and significantly correlated to participation intention of, but the hypothesized moderating effect of cultural variables is not verified. Finally, we find that participation intention positively predicts effective participation, and that this relationship is moderated by the professional status of the individual. We end our work with a discussion of our results and by outlining future research proposals for academics to consider.

Citation: Roth, Y. (2016) Comprendre la participation des internautes au crowdsourcing : Une étude des antécédents de l’intention de participation à une plateforme créative. Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne – Ecole Doctorale de Management Panthéon – Sorbonne.

About Yannig

Yannig was Marketing Manager at eYeka, responsible for PR, communication and research. Interested in marketing, innovation and design-related topics, he also loves to free his head by cycling, running, reading or drawing. Yannig, who holds an MSc from ESSCA School of Management and a PhD from University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, tweets under @YannigRoth and blogs at www.yannigroth.com
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