Editor’s Introduction 25(3)

Vladimir Zwass
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 25, Number 3, 2021, pp. 261-262.

Crowdsourcing, or co-creation of value with the firm’s external stakeholders and other contributors, has been gaining in importance over the past two decades. Enabled by the ecosystems of the web, crowdsourcing brings the wider and more diverse pool of knowledge and experience than any firm can muster internally. The creativity of the crowdsourcing community is a key to its actual contribution. Opening this issue of International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Sut I Wong, Aldijana Bunjak, Matej Černe, and Christian Fieseler present their study of some of the prerequisites to the crowdworkers’ creativity. More specifically, the researchers examine the role of feedback received by the contributing participants on the digital crowdwork platforms. Their theory-driven empirics and analysis bring out a highly nuanced picture. Feedback may actually be perceived as an expression of surveillance, with all the negative results ensuing, including diminished creativity. At the same time, as shown by the researchers, negative feedback can serve as a stimulant to better performance by well-defined categories of contributors to the crowdsourcing platforms. The companies that increasingly seek ideas on their crowdsourcing platforms may take heed as the authors discuss how to stimulate creativity in the full light of their findings.

The key to the long-term success of social commerce platforms is user engagement. What platform features foster it? This is the research question posed in the next paper, by Xiayu Chen, Zhaoyang Liu, Shaobo Wei, and Yezheng Liu. Drilling down, the authors’ empirics aim to answer the question, What platform affordances, classified as utilitarian, hedonic, and connective, support users’ sense of the platform and social identities, which in turn promote the engagement with the platform? The model offered and tested here is theory based and leads to normative advice to the platform offerors with respect to supporting different groups of their users as participants in the social commerce enterprise, rather than merely shoppers.

The dark side of online lives has become an important area of research, simply because it has been increasingly affecting the lives of all of us. One of the phenomena on the dark side is the “collaborative” online attacks on brands, known as firestorms. There are numerous examples of such behavior and of its detrimental effects on the affected companies. Clearly, high-running user emotions are involved, but their nature had not been investigated. Here, we present such an investigation. Elena Delgado-Ballester, Inés López- López, and Alicia Bernal-Palazón study empirically the role of sadness, anger, and dislike in initiating an online firestorm. The appraisal theory of emotions serves as the foundation of the work. The nuanced findings help us both understand and—one hopes—contend with this revenge phenomenon.

In the next paper, Miao Cui, Xin Li, and Ken Kamoche present a case study in their investigation of the digital transformation of traditional intermediaries into e-intermediaries. This is the path trodden or envisaged by numerous companies in their quest for a greater success or for survival. Both the customers and the suppliers of these firms exert pressures toward such a transformation. The authors explore the role of one of the three strategic logics and of resource orchestration in this process. The researchers’ empirics allow them to tease out the common feature of the alternative strategic logics and to identify the stages of resource orchestration that can lead to the buildup of capabilities and resources needed to succeed online.

It has been long established that choice overload is an obstacle in physical shopping. There are definitely many more options in online shopping for the process to be swift and easy. There are also various means of coping, including online reviews and recommenders. In the concluding paper of the issue, Fenghua Wang, Mohan Wang, Yujie Zheng, Jia Jin, and Yu Pan ask general questions. Is a large assortment a source of choice difficulty and—more important to the sellers—choice deferral? What is the role of consumer vigilance? The authors devise, test, and present a survey-based framework showing the independencies among the size and desirability of product assortment and consumer vigilance, thus contributing to the theory and the practice of e-retail.