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Of Hackers and Hairdressers: Modularity and the Organizational Economics of Open-source Collaboration

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  • Richard Langlois
  • Giampaolo Garzarelli

Abstract

Using the idea of modularity, we study the general phenomenon of open-source collaboration, which includes such things as collective invention and open science in addition to open-source software production. We argue that open-source collaboration coordinates the division of labor through the exchange of effort rather than of products: suppliers of effort self-identify in the same way as suppliers of products in a market rather than accepting assignments like employees in a firm. We suggest that open-source software (and other) projects are neither bazaars nor cathedrals, but hybrids manifesting both voluntary production and conscious planning.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Industry and Innovation.

Volume (Year): 15 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 125-143

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Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:15:y:2008:i:2:p:125-143

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Related research

Keywords: Innovation; integrality; intellectual division of labor; modularity; open-source software; theory of the firm;

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Cited by:
  1. Fabio Landini, 2012. "Institutional Change and Information Production," Department of Economics University of Siena 645, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  2. Koen Frenken & Stefan Mendritzki, 2012. "Optimal modularity: a demonstration of the evolutionary advantage of modular architectures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(5), pages 935-956, November.
  3. Garzarelli, Giampaolo & Fontanella, Riccardo, 2010. "Open Source Software Production, Spontaneous Input, and Organizational Learning," MPRA Paper 22949, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Giampaolo Garzarelli & Matthew Holian, 2014. "Parchment, guns, and the problem of governance," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 71-80, March.
  5. Consoli, Davide & Patrucco, Pier Paolo, 2013. "Complexity and the Coordination of Technological Knowledge: The Case of Innovation Platforms," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 20133, University of Turin.
  6. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
  7. Garzarelli, Giampaolo & Limam, Yasmina Reem & Thomassen, Bjørn, 2007. "Open Source Software and Economic Growth: A Classical Division of Labor Perspective," MPRA Paper 3849, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Rullani, Francesco & Haefliger, Stefan, 2013. "The periphery on stage: The intra-organizational dynamics in online communities of creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 941-953.
  9. Landini, Fabio, 2012. "Technology, property rights and organizational diversity in the software industry," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 137-150.
  10. Patrucco, Pier Paolo, 2013. "The Evolution of Knowledge Organization: The Emergence of Innovation Platform in the Turin Car System," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201331, University of Turin.
  11. Gauguier, Jean-Jacques, 2009. "L’industrialisation de l’Open Source," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/4388 edited by Toledano, Joëlle, September.
  12. Francesco Rullani & Francesco Zirpoli, 2013. "Coordination of joint search in distributed innovation processes: Lessons from the effects of initial code release in Open Source Software development," Working Papers 20, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
  13. Giampaolo Garzarelli, 2008. "The division of labor and voluntary production," Economía, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales (IIES). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales. Universidad de Los Andes. Mérida, Venezuela, vol. 33(25), pages 47-60, january-j.

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