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Reconciling investors and donators - The governance structure of open source

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  • Egon Franck
  • Carola Jungwirth

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich
    Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

Software developed and produced in open source projects has become an important competitor in the software industry. Since it can be downloaded for free and no wages are paid to developers, the open source endeavor seems to rest on voluntary contributions by hobbyists. In the discussion of this puzzle two basic patterns of argumentation stand out. In what we call investor approaches, emphasis is put on the fact that although no wages are paid to contributors, other pay-offs may turn their effort into a profitable investment. In what we call donator approaches the point is made that many people contribute to open source projects without expecting to ever receive any individual rewards. We argue that the basic institutional innovation in open source has been the crafting of a governance structure, which enables investment without crowding out donations. The focus of the presented analysis lies on the specific institutional mechanisms, by which the open source governance structure achieves to reconcile the interests of investors and donators.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0008.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Publication status: Published in: Journal of Management and Governance, 7, 2003, S. 401-421.
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0008

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Cited by:
  1. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
  2. Egon Franck & Carola Jungwirth & Benno Luthiger, 2005. "Motivation und Engagement beim OSS-Programmieren- Eine empirische Analyse," Working Papers 0036, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  3. Frank, Ulrich & Strecker, Stefan & Koch, Stefan, 2007. ""Open Model" - ein Vorschlag für ein Forschungsprogramm der Wirtschaftsinformatik: Langfassung," ICB Research Reports 8, University Duisburg-Essen, Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems (ICB).
  4. Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2004. "Decoding the "Free/Open Source(F/OSS) Software Puzzle" a survey of theoretical and empirical contributions," Department of Economics University of Siena 424, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Alessandro Narduzzo & Alessandro Rossi, 2003. "Modular Design and the Development of Complex Artifacts: Lessons from Free/Open Source Software," ROCK Working Papers 021, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 12 Jun 2008.
  6. Egon Franck, . "Private Firm, Public Corporation or Member`s Association – Governance Structures in European Football," Working Papers 0106, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  7. Paul Laat, 2007. "Governance of open source software: state of the art," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 165-177, May.
  8. Blecker, Thorsten & Abdelkafi, Nizar & Raasch, Christina, 2008. "Enabling and Sustaining Collaborative Innovation," MPRA Paper 8964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Blecker, Thorsten & Abdelkafi, Nizar & Raasch, Christina, 2008. "Enabling and sustaining collaborative innovation," Working Papers 52, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Technology and Innovation Management.
  10. M. Markus, 2007. "The governance of free/open source software projects: monolithic, multidimensional, or configurational?," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 151-163, May.
  11. Alessandro Rossi & Alessandro Narduzzo, 2003. "Modular design and the development of complex artifact lesson fron free open source software," Quaderni DISA 080, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 29 Sep 2003.

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