No Allergy to Making Money? Communities, Commercialization, and Innovation
Ethan R. Mollick
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School
February 10, 2016
Online communities play an increasingly important role in developing innovation. However, relatively little is known about the ways in which community affiliation influences how innovations and products generated in these communities are commercialized. By examining Open Source Software (OSS) as an example of an innovation community, and using both a quasi-experiment and a longitudinal survey, I seek to shed light on this issue. In the quasi-experiment using the launch of the Apple App Store, I find a decreased propensity towards commercialization among individuals associated with online community innovation. I then examine the mechanisms for this decreased commercialization with a novel longitudinal survey of OSS community members. Despite the history of OSS as an anti-commercial community, I did not find evidence that anti-commercial attitudes influenced commercialization choices. There was some evidence that concerns over intellectual property rights may discourage commercialization, but only in a limited way. Instead, the primary mechanism associated with the lower propensity to commercialize appeared to be attributable to the difference in self-identity between community-based innovators and entrepreneurs. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the study of community-based innovation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: Commercialization, Motivation, Entrepreneurship, Free Software, Open Source, Floss, Structural, iPhone, innovation communities, open innovation
Date posted: January 25, 2011 ; Last revised: February 16, 2016
© 2016 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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