Signals from the crowd: Strategic management and learning through crowdsourcing

Aaron Jette, Robert Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


One way to ensure broad organizational support of strategic management efforts is to include employees in strategic planning. An inclusive strategic planning process can spur creativity and innovation and increase organizational commitment to implementing change and has been shown to improve employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Crowdsourced strategic planning engages employees by using techniques traditionally used to engage external stakeholders. Turning these tools inward provides opportunities for a broad range of employees to develop a shared vision of a desired organizational state and to identify, develop, and sustain strategies to achieve that vision. This paper describes the design, implementation, and immediate outcomes of a crowdsourced strategic planning process at the U.S. Department of Transportation John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a research-based public agency. The strategic planning process engaged about one-half of the workforce and resulted in the identification of more than two dozen employee-generated strategic initiatives, of which nine are currently being carried out. By providing employees a platform for expression, the process also had the unexpected benefit of generating information about the concerns and aspirations of employees and the fundamental organizational conditions required to manage change. In this way, crowdsourced strategic planning supports strategic learning; emergent strategies are identified and deliberate strategies are adapted to address the organizational vision expressed by employees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - 2016


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