Digitization has had a huge impact on our society as a whole with a particular influence on the working world. Terms and concepts like share economy or digital nomads are already fixed components of everyday life. New modes of working and forms of collaboration constantly come into being, affecting individuals as well as employers and social institutions.
Crowdworkers can earn money at their convenience while companies gain access to a multitude of resources including experts that are available to commit to a variety of projects. Nevertheless, a lot of ambiguities still exist regarding the collaboration between crowdworkers and companies as well as service providers, both from a legal perspective and where entrepreneurial responsibility is concerned.
Crowdsourcing, which means the outsourcing of projects and tasks to a worldwide community of internet users, is a well-established result of the aforementioned developments and has become increasingly popular over the last few years.
The code of conduct at hand is a self-imposed guideline for prominent crowdsourcing companies that has been initiated by the crowdtesting provider Testbirds.
Its aim is to create a basis for a trusting and fair cooperation between service providers, clients and crowdworkers, independent of legislation.
This code of conduct serves as an orientation to crowdsourcing in its role as a modern method of working. It also aspires to contribute towards a win-win-situation for all persons involved. All crowdsourcing companies that have signed the code of conduct at hand have the highest standards regarding the quality of their work and a desire to provide their clients with the best possible results and solutions.
In contrast to unpaid crowdsourcing tasks, which are executed by a group of volunteers, this code of conduct is meant to provide guidelines for paid crowdsourcing or crowdworking.
The undersigned members commit to follow the indicated principles and to promote them within their company as well as while collaborating with other parties. In case circumstances change, for example in the event of legal aspects arising, the members will debate whether the rules need to be adapted.
As the crowdsourcing code of conduct is voluntary and self-regulated, it cannot claim validity outside its circle of supporters. However, all interested companies are very welcome to join.
All subscribers undertake to exclusively offer reasonable tasks. No projects of illegal, defamatory, fraudulent, demagogic, violence glorifying, or countering to the constitution nature will be offered to crowdworkers.
Paid crowdsourcing is subject to freelance working laws and does not signify a permanent employment relationship with corresponding terms, such as a pension scheme, social security or health insurance. The subscribers commit to notify the crowdworkers with regards to legal aspects. In case a company is unable to give legal advice due to restrictions such as those imposed by the country in which they operate in, crowdsourcing providers will inform the crowdworkers on how to take care of the legal matters according to the worker's own legal and personal circumstances.
All subscribers commit to pay a fair and appropriate wage. It must be communicated clearly in advance how large the sum of the reimbursement will be once a crowdworker fulfils his or her tasks in a satisfactory manner. The crowdworker has to be notified about the conditions of payment and the settlements are to be done swiftly by the crowdsourcing provider. In case a project is done pro bono to support community causes this is to be clearly communicated to the crowdworkers in advance
The members are aware of the fact that financial reimbursements are not the sole reason for people to participate in crowdsourcing projects. Intrinsic motivational factors such as “contribution to a collaborative effort” or “relatedness” play an important part as well. In this regard, all members will do their best to measure up to these expectations of their crowdworkers by offering motivational tasks.
The tasks for crowdworkers should be clearly and specifically defined. The workers need to receive a detailed description of all the criteria that needs to be met in order to participate in and successfully complete a crowdsourcing project. In some cases, tasks might have to be completed in short timeframes. Crowdsourcing companies have to take this requirement into account and should always plan with realistic estimations as well as give the crowdworkers enough time to fulfill their tasks.
Crowdworking takes place on a voluntary basis; therefore workers should maintain the freedom to choose their own tasks. The refusal by crowdworkers of offered tasks should not lead to negative consequences for them. As crowdsourcing is usually not a primary source of income, it is important to provide as much freedom as possible in completing the tasks.
As crowdworkers tend to work remotely, it is extremely important that the crowdsourcing company is available for questions that may arise. Undersigned members of this code of conduct undertake to provide their crowdworkers with the best possible assistance, to give feedback on how the tasks have been carried out and to offer suggestions for improvement. Also in regards to the relationship with the client, crowdsourcing providers will always strive to give fast and productive feedback.
The relationship between companies, clients and crowdworkers is based on reliability, trust, honesty, transparency and mutual respect. There should be no hierarchy in terms of which party carries more relevance or importance. The aforementioned values are to be promoted within the company and when dealing with third parties. The crowdsourcing providers commit to executing their tasks seriously. As this is a mutual dependency, it is also expected that crowdworkers act under these principles.
In order to handle crowdsourcing projects in an effective and efficient manner, it is an extremely vital requirement to offer crowdworkers a suitable working environment. The providers will do their best to supply a user-friendly and easy-to-access platform where projects are handled. The needs of customers and workers should likewise be taken into consideration.
Respect for and protection of the crowdworkers’ privacy is paramount. This includes private information such as personal data or contact information. This also translates to all information that clients provide to members who have signed the code of conduct. Crowdsourcing providers commit to not revealing the personal data of the crowdworkers to third parties without written consent. Only the information that is strictly necessary for a clear understanding of the project is given to the clients in an anonymous fashion. Regarding relationships with customers, the providers are obligated to act under confidentiality. They can be relieved from this responsibility by the client only. The same is expected of the crowdworkers.