Wikimedia Foundation in 2015: Changing How Humans Share Knowledge

By Robert Siegel, Robert Burgelman, Arla Xhaxho
2015 | Case No. SM245 | Length 20 pgs.

The Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for supporting Wikipedia and various other projects through administration, technical and financial support. Since its founding, Wikipedia has changed the way people around the world research information by allowing individuals to document and write history in a collaborative and decentralized fashion. The case follows Lila Tretikov as she takes on her new role as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and how she and the organization have to balance fundraising, technology development and managing an organization through influence and strategy.

Learning Objective

The goal of the case is to show students an organization that supports work in over 180 languages around the globe in a decentralized fashion, but in a way that impacts corporations, governments and individuals. Students need to think about the strategic issues facing a leader coping with unprecedented technology change and huge complexity, where the Wikimedia Foundation has to help and support the broader community while being consistent to the strong values of this mission-driven organization.
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