What Is Crowdsourcing?
The basic idea behind crowdsourcing has been recently popularized in a variety of books, most notably "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki. In that book, Surowiecki claims, in the book description via the publisher, that:
Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant–better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.
It's a really simple idea, if you think about it. But you really have to think about it fairly deeply to realize that it's far from a universal solution. On the surface of it, if you have a thousand brains to draw from, with their collective knowledge and experience, you might get better decision making, predictive ability and problem-solving than if you only have one brain to draw from, and that's the contention that Surowiecki makes.
Since our focus is performance management, or more specifically, crowdsourcing performance reviews, the logic is that if we draw from many many sources to "evaluate" an employee, we will get a better outcome than if only a single manager, in consort with the employee, work to appraise performance. That's the "theory". In truth, it's not good in practice.
In concept, the idea shares much with 360 degree feedback.