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Champions of Revealing - the Role of Open Source Developers in Commercial Firms

42 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2006 Last revised: 1 May 2013

Joachim Henkel

TUM School of Management - Technische Universität München (TUM); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: January 1, 2008

Abstract

The link between firms engaging in open source software (OSS) development and the OSS community is established by individual developers. This linkage might entail a principal-agent issue due to the developer's double allegiance to firm and OSS community, and expose the firm to the risk of losing intellectual property. Using both interviews and a large-scale survey, I substantiate the importance of the developer's role. However, neither interview data nor regression analysis show indications of commercially harmful revealing behavior induced by Free Software ideology. Management, on the other hand, sometimes seems to be overly concerned about openness. I conclude that a more positive stance towards openness will allow firms to better share in the benefits of open innovation processes.

Keywords: Open source software, embedded Linux, employees, motivation, communities

Suggested Citation

Henkel, Joachim, Champions of Revealing - the Role of Open Source Developers in Commercial Firms (January 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946929 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.946929

Joachim Henkel (Contact Author)

TUM School of Management - Technische Universität München (TUM) ( email )

Arcisstr. 21
Munich, D-80333
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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