Information quality in wikipedia: The effects of group composition and task conflict

Ofer Arazy, Oded Nov, Raymond Patterson, Lisa Yeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The success of Wikipedia demonstrates that self-organizing production communities can produce high-quality information-based products. Research on Wikipedia has proceeded largely atheoretically, focusing on (1) the diversity in members' knowledge bases as a determinant of Wikipedia's content quality, (2) the task-related conflicts that occur during the collaborative authoring process, and (3) the different roles members play in Wikipedia. We develop a theoretical model that explains how these three factors interact to determine the quality of Wikipedia articles. The results from the empirical study of 96 Wikipedia articles suggest that (1) diversity should be encouraged, as the creative abrasion that is generated when cognitively diverse members engage in task-related conflict leads to higher-quality articles, (2) task conflict should be managed, as conflict-notwithstanding its contribution to creative abrasion-can negatively affect group output, and (3) groups should maintain a balance of both administrative- and content-oriented members, as both contribute to the collaborative process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-98
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Management Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: the authors thank kevin O’kell, kathy West, Janet Williamson, and Maureen Beristain for their work on this project. they also thank the JMIS anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier drafts of this paper. this research was funded in part by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities research Council (SSHrC).


  • Wikipedia
  • co-creation
  • cognitive diversity
  • collaboration
  • community-based production
  • group composition
  • information quality
  • task conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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