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Communal resources in open source software development

Spaeth, S., Haefliger, S., Krogh, G. V. & Renzl, B. (2008). Communal resources in open source software development. Information Research, 13(1),


Introduction: Virtual communities play an important role in innovation. The paper focuses on the particular form of collective action in virtual communities underlying as Open Source software development projects.

Method: Building on resource mobilization theory and private-collective innovation, we propose a theory of collective action in innovative virtual communities. We identify three communal resources (reputation, control over technology and learning opportunities) that appear as a byproduct while developing open source software.

Analysis:Constructs are derived from exiting literature. Empirical data from Freenet, an open source software project for peer-to-peer software, illustrates both the levels of involvement and the communal resources.

Results & conclusions: Communal resources are able to solve the collective action dilemma for virtual communities. We show that they increase in value for individuals along with their involvement in the community.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Published by Information Research. Copyright the authors 2008.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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