Of Hackers and Hairdressers: Modularity and the Organizational Economics of Open-source Collaboration
AbstractBy employing modularity theory, we study the general phenomenon of open-source collaboration, which includes, e.g., collective invention and open science besides open-source software production. We focus on how open-source collaboration coordinates the division of labor. We find that open-source collaboration is an organizational form based on the exchange of effort rather than of products where suppliers of effort self-identify like suppliers of products in a market rather than accepting assignments like employees in a firm. Our finding suggests that actual 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 InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2008-53.
Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Industry and Innovation 15(2) 125-143 (April 2008) (Special Issue: Online Communities and Open Innovation) with minor revisions.
Note: Previous versions of this paper have benefited from the feedback received from Davide Consoli, Martin Michlmayr, audiences at DRUID June 18-20, 2006,Copenhagen and EURAM May 16-19 2007, Paris, seminar participants at Wits on April 25, 2007, and three referees of this journal.
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Innovation; Integrality; Intellectual Division of Labor; Modularity; Open Source Software; Theory of the Firm.;
Other versions of this item:
- Richard Langlois & Giampaolo Garzarelli, 2008. "Of Hackers and Hairdressers: Modularity and the Organizational Economics of Open-source Collaboration," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 125-143.
- D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
- L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
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