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Strategic Interaction and Knowledge Sharing in the KDE Developer Mailing List

Author

Listed:
  • George Kuk

    () (Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road, Nottingham NG8 1BB, United Kingdom)

Abstract

In stark contrast with the fully participative "bazaar" imagery of open source software (OSS) development, some recent empirical research has pointed out that much of the OSS development is carried out by a small percentage of developers. This raises serious concerns that concentration of development effort on a few will limit knowledge sharing and underutilize the available resources. Using the notion of strategic interaction, this paper argues that individual developers often interact strategically with other highly resourceful developers by forming a smaller but better organized structure to intensify the types of epistemic interactions that matter most to the OSS development. A general framework of strategic interaction including participation inequality, conversational interactivity, and cross-thread connectivity is proposed to examine its impact on knowledge sharing, and validated using 128 discussion threads from the K Desktop Environment (KDE) developer mailing list. The findings indicate that strategic interaction has expanded knowledge sharing but with the caveat that extreme concentration of development could have an opposite effect. For researchers, this study dovetails the incentive logic by proposing and validating the strategic aspects of OSS participation to better understand the collective dynamics underpinning OSS development. Practitioners can use this approach to evaluate and better support existing knowledge-sharing initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • George Kuk, 2006. "Strategic Interaction and Knowledge Sharing in the KDE Developer Mailing List," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1031-1042, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:52:y:2006:i:7:p:1031-1042
    as

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0551
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
    2. Maxine Robertson & Sue Newell, 1996. "The Role of Networks In the Diffusion of Technological Innovation," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 333-359, May.
    3. Jonathon N. Cummings, 2004. "Work Groups, Structural Diversity, and Knowledge Sharing in a Global Organization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 352-364, March.
    4. von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gächter, Simon & von Krogh, Georg & Haefliger, Stefan, 2010. "Initiating private-collective innovation: The fragility of knowledge sharing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 893-906, September.
    2. repec:spr:annopr:v:244:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2140-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sam Ransbotham & Gerald C. Kane & Nicholas H. Lurie, 2012. "Network Characteristics and the Value of Collaborative User-Generated Content," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(3), pages 387-405, May.
    4. Nicolai J. Foss & Kenneth Husted & Snejina Michailova, 2010. "Governing Knowledge Sharing in Organizations: Levels of Analysis, Governance Mechanisms, and Research Directions," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 455-482, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Wang, Jing & Hu, Michael Y. & Shanker, Murali, 2012. "Human agency, social networks, and FOSS project success," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(7), pages 977-984.
    7. Wang, Jing, 2012. "Survival factors for Free Open Source Software projects: A multi-stage perspective," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 352-371.
    8. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:13:p:2589-2610 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Lerner, Jürgen & Kenis, Patrick & Raaij, Denise van & Brandes, Ulrik, 2011. "Will they stay or will they go? How network properties of WebICs predict dropout rates of valuable Wikipedians," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 404-413.

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