Network Effects: The Influence of Structural Social Capital on Open Source Project Success

Management Information Systems Quarterly, Forthcoming

43 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2008 Last revised: 2 Sep 2014

See all articles by Param Vir Singh

Param Vir Singh

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Yong Tan

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Vijay Mookerjee

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Date Written: April 1, 2008

Abstract

What determines open source project success? In this study, we investigate the impact of network social capital - the benefits open source developers secure from their memberships in a developer collaboration network - on open source project success. We focus on one specific type of success as measured by the productivity of open source project team. Specific hypotheses are developed and tested on a longitudinal panel of 2378 projects hosted at Sourceforge. We find that network social capital is not equally accessible to or appropriated by all projects. Our main results are (1) teams with greater internal cohesion are more successful, (2) external cohesion (cohesion among the external contacts of a team) has an inverse U-shaped relationship with the project's success; moderate levels of external cohesion are the best for a project's success, rather than very low or very high levels of this variable, (3) the technological diversity of a contact also has the greatest benefit when it is neither too low nor too high, and (4) the number of direct and indirect external contacts are positively correlated with a project's success with the effect of the number of direct contacts being moderated by the number of indirect contacts. These results are robust to a number of control variables and alternate model specifications. Several theoretical and managerial implications are provided.

Keywords: open source software development, social networks, productivity, social capital, project success, team composition

Suggested Citation

Singh, Param Vir and Tan, Yong and Mookerjee, Vijay, Network Effects: The Influence of Structural Social Capital on Open Source Project Success (April 1, 2008). Management Information Systems Quarterly, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1111868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1111868

Param Vir Singh (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3585 (Phone)

Yong Tan

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353226
Seattle, WA 98195-3226
United States

Vijay Mookerjee

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

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