Resolving Governance Disputes in Communities: A Study of Software License Decisions

Strategic Management Journal, Forthcoming

62 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Resolving governance disputes is of vital importance for communities. Gathering data from GitHub communities, we employ hybrid inductive methods to study discussions around initiation and change of software licenses—a fundamental and potentially contentious governance issue. First, we apply machine learning algorithms to identify robust patterns in data: resolution is more likely in larger discussion groups and in projects without a license compared to those with a license. Second, we analyze textual data to explain the causal mechanisms underpinning these patterns. The resulting theory highlights the group process (reflective agency switches disputes from bargaining to problem solving) and group property (preference alignment over attributes) that are both necessary for the resolution of governance disputes, contributing to the literature on community governance.

Keywords: dispute resolution; community governance; problem solving; machine learning; inductive theorizing

Suggested Citation

He, Vivianna Fang and Puranam, Phanish and Shrestha, Yash Raj and von Krogh, Georg, Resolving Governance Disputes in Communities: A Study of Software License Decisions (2020). Strategic Management Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3567391

Vivianna Fang He

ESSEC Business School ( email )

3 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
CS 50105 CERGY
CERGY, CERGY PONTOISE CEDEX 95021
France

Phanish Puranam

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore, 138676
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/profiles/ppuranam/

Yash Raj Shrestha (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Georg Von Krogh

ETH Zurich ( email )

D-MTEC, SMI, WEV J 411
Weinbergstrasse 56/58
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 88 50 (Phone)

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