unsourcing definition

Contributor(s): Rachel Lebeaux

Unsourcing is the transfer of an organization's customer service and support functions from paid employees to unpaid or low-paid online communities.

Unsourcing relies upon individuals' desire to transfer knowledge. In order to encourage non-employees' unpaid participation via unsourcing, some companies are relying on gamification practices, rewarding active user-community members in a non-monetary fashion in exchange for helping their peers. Such rewards can take the form of accumulated points and honorary titles.

Unsourcing can be part of an organization's larger sourcing strategy, which might include offshore outsourcing, domestic outsourcing, insourcing, reshoring and rightsourcing.

This was first published in December 2012

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