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Data collaboratives as “bazaars”? A review of coordination problems and mechanisms to match demand for data with supply

Iryna Susha (Department of Informatics, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden)
Marijn Janssen (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Stefaan Verhulst (The Governance Lab, New York University, New York, USA)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 20 March 2017




In “data collaboratives”, private and public organizations coordinate their activities to leverage data to address a societal challenge. This paper aims to focus on analyzing challenges and coordination mechanisms of data collaboratives.


This study uses coordination theory to identify and discuss the coordination problems and coordination mechanisms associated with data collaboratives. The authors also use a taxonomy of data collaborative forms from a previous empirical study to discuss how different forms of data collaboratives may require different coordination mechanisms.


The study analyzed data collaboratives from the perspective of organizational and task levels. At the organizational level, the authors argue that data collaboratives present an example of the bazaar form of coordination. At the task level, the authors identified five coordination problems and discussed potential coordination mechanisms to address them, such as coordination by negotiation, by third party, by standardization, to name a few.

Research limitations/implications

This study is one of the first few to systematically analyze the phenomenon of “data collaboratives”.

Practical implications

This study can help practitioners better understand the coordination challenges they may face when initiating a data collaborative and to develop successful data collaboratives by using coordination mechanisms to mitigate these challenges.


Data collaboratives are a novel form of data-driven initiatives which have seen rapid experimentation lately. This study draws attention to this concept in the academic literature and highlights some of the complexities of organizing data collaboratives in practice.



This research was funded by the Swedish Research Council under the grant agreement 2015-06563 as part of the project “Data collaboratives as a new form of innovation for addressing societal challenges in the age of data”.


Susha, I., Janssen, M. and Verhulst, S. (2017), "Data collaboratives as “bazaars”? A review of coordination problems and mechanisms to match demand for data with supply", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 157-172.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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