Penguins, Camels, and Other Birds of a Feather: Brokerage, Boundary Spanning, and Leadership in Open Innovation Communities

60 Pages Posted: 2 May 2005  

Lee Fleming

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

David Waguespack

University of Maryland

Date Written: April 8, 2005

Abstract

What types of human and social capital identify the emergence of leaders of open innovation communities? Consistent with the norms of an engineering culture, we find that future leaders must first make strong technical contributions. Beyond technical contributions, they must then integrate their voluntary communities in order to avoid the ever present danger of forking and balkanization. This is enabled by two correlated but distinct social positions: brokerage, and boundary spanning between technological modules. An inherent lack of trust associated with brokerage positions can be overcome through physical interaction or contributions within technological boundaries. Successful leaders are thus the product of strong technical contribution and a structural position that can bind the community together.

Keywords: open source, brokerage, boundary spanning, leadership

JEL Classification: O31, P32, L31

Suggested Citation

Fleming, Lee and Waguespack, David, Penguins, Camels, and Other Birds of a Feather: Brokerage, Boundary Spanning, and Leadership in Open Innovation Communities (April 8, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=710641 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.710641

Lee Fleming (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495 6613 (Phone)
617 496 5265 (Fax)

David Waguespack

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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