Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
is a book by Don Tapscott
and Anthony D. Williams
first published in December 2006. It explores how some companies
in the early 21st century have used mass collaboration
(also called peer production) and open-source technology such as wikis
to be successful.
According to Tapscott, Wikinomics is based on four ideas: Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally. The use of mass collaboration in a business environment, in recent history, can be seen as an extension of the trend in business to outsource
: externalize formerly internal business functions to other business entities. The difference however is that instead of an organized business body brought into being specifically for a unique function, mass collaboration relies on free individual agents to come together and cooperate to improve a given operation or solve a problem. This kind of outsourcing is also referred to as crowdsourcing
, to reflect this difference. This can be incentivized by a reward system, though it is not required.
The book also discusses the seven new models of mass collaboration:
The last chapter is written by viewers, and was opened for editing on February 5, 2007.
In the chapter The Perfect Storm
, the authors give an overview of the economic effects of the kind of transactions Web 2.0
permits. According to the authors, Coase's Law
(see Ronald Coase
) governs the expansion of a business:
A firm will tend to expand until the cost of organizing an extra transaction within the firm become equal to the costs of carrying out the same transaction on the open market.
However, because of the changing usage patterns of internet technologies, the cost of transactions has dropped so significantly that the authors assert that market is better described by an inversion of Coase's Law. That is:
A firm will tend to expand until the cost of carrying out an extra transaction on the open market become equal to the costs of organizing the same transaction within the firm.
Thus, the authors think that with the costs of communicating dramatically dropping, firms who do not change their current structures will perish. Companies who utilize mass collaboration will dominate their respective markets.
Summary of Academic Reviews
A review of this book in the Harvard Business Review
states "like its title, the book's prose can fall into breathless hype." A review of this book in Choice
recommends the book for "general readers and practitioners," but cautions that the authors "present an optimistic overview of successful collaborations and business ventures", "use unique terms (e.g., marketocracy, prosumption, knowledge commons)", should have given "more consideration [to] the darker sides of human motivation as well as groupthink
and mass mediocrity", and "primarily draw on their own observations of businesses and trends for the ideas presented."