Intrinsic Motivations and Profit-Oriented Firms in Open Source Software: Do Firms Practise What They Preach?
32 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2005
A growing body of economic literature is exploring the incentives of the agents involved in the Open Source movement. However, most empirical analyses focus on individual developers and neglect firms that do business with Open Source software (Open Source firms). This paper contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence on the incentives of firms that engage in Open Source activities. Data on firms' motivations were collected by a large-scale survey conducted on 146 Italian companies supplying Open Source (OS) solutions and show that intrinsic, community-based incentives do play a role. Nevertheless, these positive attitudes towards the values of the OS community, which are quite surprising by profit-oriented firms, are not in general put into practise. Discrepancy between attitudes and behaviours is a widely investigated phenomenon in social psychology literature. We explore its pattern in our sample, find that it does not concern all the respondents, and single out a group of firms adopting a more consistent behaviour. Our results are in line with the literature on individual motivations in organisations and Open Source business models.
Keywords: Open Source firms, motivations, discrepancy between attitudes and behaviours
JEL Classification: L86, O33
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