ON COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: The Future of IT-Mediated Crowds
John Prpić 
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University

Software (including web pages and mobile applications etc) is the key building 
block of the IT field in terms of human interaction, and can be construed as an 
artifact that codifies organizational process “…in the form of software 
embedded “routines” (Straub and Del Guidice 2012). These organizational 
processes are frozen into the artifact, though not fossilized, since the 
explicit codification that executes an artifact can be readily updated when 
desired (Orlikowski and Iacono 2001, Yoo et al. 2012). 

A software artifact always includes “a setting of interaction” or a user 
interface, for example a GUI or a DOS prompt (Rogers 2004), where human beings 
employ the embedded routines codified within the artifact (including data) for 
various purposes, providing input, and receiving programmed output in return. 
The setting of interaction provides both the limits and possibilities of the 
interaction between a human being and the artifact, and in turn this 
“dual-enablement” facilitates the functionality available to the employ of a 
human being or an organization (Del Giudice 2008). This structural view of 
artifacts (Orlikowski and Iacono 2001) informs us that “IT artifacts are, by 
definition, not natural, neutral, universal, or given” (Orlikowski and Iacono 
2001), and that “IT artifacts are always embedded in some time, place, 
discourse, and community” (Orlikowski and Iacono 2001).

Emerging research and our observation of developments in Industry and in the 
Governance context signals that organizations are increasingly engaging Crowds 
through IT artifacts to fulfill their idiosyncratic needs. This new and rapidly 
emerging paradigm of socio-technical systems can be found in Crowdsourcing 
(Brabham 2008), Prediction Markets (Arrow et al. 2008), Wikis (Majchrzak et al. 
2013), Crowdfunding (Mollick 2013), Social Media (Kietzmann et al 2011), and 
Citizen Science techniques (Crowston & Prestopnik 2013).  Acknowledging and 
incorporating these trends, research has emerged conceptualizing a parsimonious 
model detailing how and why organizations are engaging Crowds through IT in 
these various substantive domains (Prpić & Shukla 2013, 2014). The model 
considers Hayek's (1945) construct of dispersed knowledge in society, as the 
antecedent condition (and thus the impetus too) driving the increasing 
configuration of IT to engage Crowds, and further details that organizations 
are doing so for the purposes of capital creation (knowledge & financial). 

However, as might be expected, many questions remain in this growing domain, 
and thus I would like to present the following questions to the FIS group, to 
canvas your very wise and diverse views.

Is there such a thing as Collective Intelligence? 
How does IT effect the existence or non-existence of Collective Intelligence? 
- http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~cfc/Woolley2010a.pdf
- http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1919614
- http://www.collectiveintelligence2014.org/

How do national innovation systems (and thus policy too) change when we 
consider IT-mediated crowds as the 4th Helix of innovation systems? 
- http://www.springer.com/business+%26+management/book/978-1-4614-2061-3

Does the changing historical perception of crowds signal other societal 
- http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1907199

Afuah, Allan, and Christopher L. Tucci. "Crowdsourcing as a solution to distant 
search." Academy of Management Review 37.3 (2012): 355-375.

Anne Majchrzak, Christian Wagner, and Dave Yates. 2013. The Impact of Shaping 
on Knowledge Reuse for Organizational Improvement with Wikis. MIS Quarterly, 
37, 2, (2013), 455–A12. 

Daren C. Brabham. 2008. Crowdsourcing as a model for problem solving: An 
introduction and cases. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into 
New Media Technologies. 14, 1, (2008), 75–90. 

John Prpić and Prashant Shukla. 2013. The Theory of Crowd Capital. Proceedings 
of the 46th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Maui, 
Hawaii, January 7-10, Computer Society Press, (2013). 

John Prpić and Prashant Shukla. 2014. The Contours of Crowd Capability. 
Proceedings of the 47th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System 
Sciences, Big Island Hawaii, January 6-9, Computer Society Press, (2014). 

Kenneth Arrow, Forsythe, M. Gorham, R. Hahn, R. Hanson, J.O. Ledyard, S. 
Levmore, R. Litan, P. 
Milgrom, F.D. Nelson, G.R. Neumann, M. Ottaviani, T.C. Schelling, R.J. Shiller, 
V.L. Smith, E. Snowberg, C.R. Sunstein, P.C. Tetlock, P.E. Tetlock, H.R. 
Varian, J. Wolfers, and E. Zitzewitz. 2008. The promise of prediction markets. 
Science. 320, 5878, (2008), 877-878. 

Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). 
Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of 
social media. Business horizons, 54(3), 241-251.

Kevin Crowston and Nathan Prestopnik. 2013. Motivation and data quality in a 
citizen science game: A design science evaluation. Proceedings of Hawai’i 
International Conference on System Science. (2013).

Mollick, Ethan R. "The dynamics of crowdfunding: Determinants of success and 
failure." Journal of Business Venturing, (2013).

Hayek, F.A, “The use of knowledge in society”, The American Economic Review, 
(35:4), 1945, pp. 519-530.

Straub, D. W., & Del Giudice, M. M. (2012). Software as Surrogate for Human 
Information Processing. MIS Quarterly, 36(4), A1–A1.

Yoo, Y., Boland, R. J., Lyytinen, K., & Majchrzak, A. (2012). Organizing for 
Innovation in the Digitized World. Organization Science, 23(5), 1398–1408. 

Orlikowski, W. J., & Iacono, C. S. (2001). Research Commentary: Desperately 
Seeking the “IT” in IT Research—A Call to Theorizing the IT Artifact. 
Information Systems Research, 12(2), 121–134. doi:10.1287/isre.

Rogers, Y. (2004). New theoretical approaches for human-computer interaction. 
Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 38(1), 87–143. 

Dell’Anno, D., Del Giudice, M., & Della Peruta, M. R. (2006). Did You inscript 
Your Tacit Knowledge? Retrieved from http://proceedings.utwente.nl/141/

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