Saving Our Oceans: Scaling the Impact of Robust Action Through Crowdsourcing

Amanda J. Porter*, Philipp Tuertscher, Marleen Huysman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


One approach for tackling grand challenges that is gaining traction in recent management literature is robust action: by allowing diverse stakeholders to engage with novel ideas, initiatives can cultivate successful ideas that yield greater impact. However, a potential pitfall of robust action is the length of time it takes to generate momentum. Crowdsourcing, we argue, is a valuable tool that can scale the generation of impact from robust action. We studied an award-winning environmental sustainability crowdsourcing initiative and found that robust action principles were indeed successful in attracting a diverse stakeholder network to generate novel ideas and develop these into sustainable solutions. Yet we also observed that the momentum and novelty generated was at risk of getting lost as the actors and their roles changed frequently throughout the process. We show the vital importance of robust action principles for connecting ideas and actors across crowdsourcing phases. These observations allow us to make a contribution to extant theory by explaining the micro-dynamics of scaling robust action's impact over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-286
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • crowdsourcing
  • grand challenges
  • robust action
  • scaling impact

VU Research Profile

  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World


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