Taking Time into Account : Understanding Microworkers’ Continued Participation in Microtasks

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

12 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-930
Journal / PublicationJournal of the Association of Information Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


Microtask crowdsourcing platforms foster digital assembly lines where microtasks are performed by on-demand microworkers. The sustainability of microtask crowdsourcing platforms and the timely completion of microtask batches hinge on microworkers’ continued participation, but our understanding of microworkers’ continuance remains unclear. Drawing on the theory of the allocation of time and the research on work motivational orientations, we hypothesize that three motivational orientations (i.e., compensation, enjoyment, and microtime structure) are positively associated with microworkers’ perceived relative advantage of microworking, which in turn enhances microworkers’ intent to continue microworking. The relationships between the three motivational orientations and relative advantage are moderated by microworkers’ perceived situational boredom and microwork status (i.e., ad hoc, part-time, and full-time). An online survey on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk provides empirical evidence for the predictive powers, which are contingent on situational boredom, of the three motivational orientations on relative advantage, suggesting that fine-grained microtasks cater to the inherent desire to structure time at a microlevel. We further found that the relationships between motivational orientations and relative advantage differ across ad hoc, part-time, and full-time microworkers. Our study sheds light on theorizing users’ participation by incorporating the time lens and distinguishing heterogeneous effects across temporal contexts and user types. Our findings also provide important practical implications for the design and organization of microwork as well as the governance of the crowdsourcing platform.

Research Area(s)

  • Extrinsic-intrinsic motivational orientation, Intent to continue, Microtask crowdsourcing, Microtime structure orientation, Relative advantage, Situational boredom