Champions of Revealing-The Role of Open Source Developers in Commercial Firms
TUM School of Management - Technische Universität München (TUM) ; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 18, Issue 3, pp. 435-471, 2009
The link between firms engaging in open source software (OSS) development and the OSS community is established by individual developers. This linkage might entail a principal-agent issue due to the developer's double allegiance to firm and OSS community, and expose the firm to the risk of losing intellectual property. Using both interviews and a large-scale survey, I substantiate the importance of the developer's role. However, neither interview data nor regression analysis show indications of commercially harmful revealing behavior induced by “Free Software ideology.” Management, on the other hand, sometimes seems to be overly concerned about openness. I conclude that a more positive stance towards openness will allow firms to better share in the benefits of open innovation processes.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 1, 2009
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