Enhancing solver motivation in crowdsourcing using work design: The mediating role of the satisfaction of basic psychological needs

Author Identifiers

Senyo Kwaku Agbeblewu
ORCID: 0000-0003-1510-2934

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Business & Law

First Advisor

Dr. Julie Nyanjom

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Yuli Suseno

Third Advisor

Dr Susan Standing


The viability of competitive crowdsourcing campaigns is threatened by dwindling solver interest and participation. The situation has been blamed on low solver motivation on crowdsourcing platforms. One means researchers have been exploring to enhance solver motivation is the use of motivational features of crowdsourcing task and platform designs. However, one factor found to play an important mediator role by determining how work design affects employees’ motivation has been overlooked by researchers. This is the satisfaction of basic psychological needs (SBPN), comprising the innate needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. Owing to its explanatory and predictive roles, overlooking solvers SBPN limits researchers’ ability to determine which changes to work design are most effective at enhancing solvers’ motivation.

Drawing on self-determination theory, this study examines the mediating role of solvers’ SBPN in predicting how attributes of crowdsourcing work design affect solvers’ motivation for solving tasks. Data for the study were collected through an online survey involving 203 solvers, on eight leading crowdsourcing platforms. Data were analysed using WarpPLS 6.0, a software program for partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM).

The key findings of the study were as follows. (1) SBPN is an important predictor of solvers’ motivation for solving tasks. (2) Its mediating role also enhances the positive effects of autonomy attributes of crowdsourcing work on solvers’ motivation. (3) Autonomy, knowledge and social attributes of crowdsourcing work design contribute significantly to enhancing solvers’ SBPN. (4) Autonomy and social attributes of crowdsourcing work design are important predictors of solvers’ motivation. (5) However, knowledge attributes of crowdsourcing work design have no significant direct or indirect effect on solvers’ motivation. The practical implications of the results are that task requesters and crowdsourcing organisers will benefit from providing solvers with more flexibility, choice and discretion through their design of tasks and platform features. This finding will contribute immensely to enhancing solvers’ motivation, their participation in task solving and the quality of their solutions. The results should also inform a review of knowledge attributes of task design to ensure task solving is more intrinsically rewarding for solvers and boost their interest in participating.

Theoretically, the findings affirm the central role of SBPN in determining individual motivation for engaging in activities and how environmental factors affect motivation. They also highlight the need for researchers to incorporate SBPN in future models examining the effects of work design on solvers’ motivation in crowdsourcing.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is embargoed until 16 November 2026. At the expiration of the embargo period, access to the thesis will be restricted to current ECU staff and students. Email queries to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.