Krogh and Hippel (2006)
|Von Krogh and Von Hippel (2006)|
|Title:||The Promise of Research on Open Source Software|
|Author(s):||Von Krogh, G., Von Hippel, E.|
|Citation:||Von Krogh, G., & Von Hippel, E. (2006). The promise of research on open source software. Management science, 52(7), 975-983.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Literature review of published research on open source software.|
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Breaking with many established assumptions about how innovation ought to work, open source software projects offer eye-opening examples of novel innovation practices for students and practitioners in many fields. In this article we briefly review existing research on the open source phenomenon and discuss the utility of open source software research findings for many other fields. We categorize the research into three areas: motivations of open source software contributors; governance, organization, and the process of innovation in open source software projects; and competitive dynamics enforced by open source software. We introduce the articles in this special issue of Management Science on open source software, and show how each contributes insights to one or more of these areas.
Main Results of the Study
- The authors propose a framework for organizing research on open source software, consisting of three areas: Motivations of Project Contributors, Governance, Organization, and the Process of Innovation, Competitive Dynamics: The Impact of Free.
Research on motivations of project contributors:
- Early empirical work documented a range of motives for participation among project contributors, such as fun, enjoyment, reputation building, learning, and the private use value of the software being developed.
- Theory followed, including the proposition that those who contributed code gained private benefit by signaling to prospective employers about their programming skills and thereby getting better jobs or salaries. A general argument on the private benefits that could accrue from engaging in the creation of public goods in the form of a “private-collective” model of innovation incentives is mentioned.
- New research explores how motives produce a mix of outcomes, and how various motives interact to produce contributions to open source software projects. There are new insights on how firm participation, community participation, and technical design relate to the contributors’ motivations.
Research on Governance, Organization, and the Process of Innovation:
- Researchers have shown interest in the challenge of governing open source software projects. Projects are based on contributions by many and sometimes thousands of volunteer developers. Volunteers can be divided into two groups: people who expect to receive rewards from contributing
to open source software (investors), and people who do not (donators). Open source software projects may have succeeded at creating a new governance structure that reconciles the interests of people in both groups.
- An emerging body of research has provided detailed accounts of open source software project organizations, highlighting a pronounced difference in roles taken by contributors.
- New research shows innovation processes in open source software significantly deviate from predictions made by existing innovation theory. Case Studies and conceptual frameworks for understanding the unique character of, and the requirements for, innovation processes in open source software have been undertaken and developed.
Research on Competitive Dynamics: The Impact of Free:
- Past research investigated how new technologies such as open source software can compete in an environment dominated by commercial technological standards, and a model for the impact of open source (copyleft) licensing on both the developer environment and the market for software was developed. This shows that although both commercial and open source software can coexist, scarcity of labour and product pricing must be taken into account.
- Researchers also studied software firms that used open source software in delivering customized products. A framework of increasing resource allocation to open source software development showed that increased “public” investment can lead to great “private” benefits for open source–oriented firms.
- New research focuses on understanding competitive dynamics. Researchers consider the mixed duopolies in which competing firms and others have heterogeneous objective functions; the technology platforms mediating competition in many industries and collaboration between firms and the open source software movement.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Open source software contributors have pioneered new ideas and practices with respect to licensing of intellectual property and the organization of innovative effort. There is no reason to believe that these practices cannot spread to other areas of economic and social activity.