Open Source Strategy Research Blog

Updating business strategy for a world embracing open source

Monday, October 15, 2012

The institutionalized open source project: Decoupling institutional myths and practical concerns to advance the institution of open source

Abstract

The institution of open source has evolved out of an era where distinction from proprietary software development methods was akin to a social movement of objection to certain business practices and has moved into an era where open source development methods are widespread.  Membership in open source communities has continued to grow and the current participant base operates in a post-internet environment that is significantly different from the limited communication and collaboration environment that was present at the birth of the open source movement.  As a result, certain institutional myths that influenced open source community structure with the intent of helping the communities develop legitimacy and grow in the early days of the institution now hinder the practical activities that the communities depend on to survive and thrive.  This paper argues that open source communities need to find the balance of a loosely coupled state between their organization and the myths of the institution of open source, recognizing the institutional roots of the organization while adapting to modern practical concerns.   Open source communities that strike the right balance will improve their performance and maintain their legitimacy in the eyes of their stakeholders.  This balance will allow the institution of open source to continue to evolve, avoiding deinstitutionalization and remaining relevant in a changing environmental context.

You can download the full draft paper if you’re interested: The institutionalized open source project

posted by Mekki at 9:24 pm  

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