[Air-l] A teaching case on Wikipedia

Karim R. Lakhani klakhani at hbs.edu
Wed Jan 31 15:37:38 PST 2007

Dear AOIRers,

I wanted to let you know that my colleague Andrew McAfee and I have  
prepared a teaching case on Wikipedia.  This case will be taught to  
MBA students at the Harvard Business School this spring in the  
Managing in the Information Age elective course.

The case is free online and is under the GNU Free Document License.

You can get it here

Here is a brief synopsis:
Wikipedia has emerged as a robust model for content production by  
volunteers working asynchronously on the internet with a  
unconventional model for distributed decision making.  The “Articles  
for Deletion” process in Wikipedia provides unique insight into the  
inner workings of a distributed community.  Wikipedia administrators  
have to decide if an article on “Enterprise 2.0” should be deleted,  
kept or merged with some other article. The episode illustrates  
broader issues of IT-enabled community mobilization and engagement in  
distributed setting.

Teaching objective:
To show the delicate balance between issues of authority, expertise,  
community consensus and norms of behavior in a distributed setting.   
To discuss success and failure modes in online communities.

I hope to have a teaching note for this by April and also a teaching  
plan - if some of you use it before hand in class - I would be  
grateful if you would share your experience with me.

Also your comments and suggestions for the case are very welcome!



Karim R. Lakhani
Assistant Professor
Harvard Business School

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