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Champions of revealing--the role of open source developers in commercial firms

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  • Joachim Henkel

Abstract

The link between firms engaging in open source software (OSS) development and the OSS community is established by individual developers. This linkage might entail a principal-agent issue due to the developer's double allegiance to firm and OSS community, and expose the firm to the risk of losing intellectual property. Using both interviews and a large-scale survey, I substantiate the importance of the developer's role. However, neither interview data nor regression analysis show indications of commercially harmful revealing behavior induced by "Free Software ideology." Management, on the other hand, sometimes seems to be overly concerned about openness. I conclude that a more positive stance towards openness will allow firms to better share in the benefits of open innovation processes. Copyright 2009 , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Joachim Henkel, 2009. "Champions of revealing--the role of open source developers in commercial firms," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 435-471, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:18:y:2009:i:3:p:435-471
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/icc/dtn046
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    Citations

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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. Colombo, Massimo G. & Piva, Evila & Rossi-Lamastra, Cristina, 2014. "Open innovation and within-industry diversification in small and medium enterprises: The case of open source software firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 891-902.
    3. Massimo G. Colombo & Douglas Cumming & Ali Mohammadi & Cristina Rossi-Lamastra & Anu Wadhwa, 2016. "Open business models and venture capital finance," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 353-370.
    4. Haeussler, Carolin, 2011. "Information-sharing in academia and the industry: A comparative study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 105-122, February.
    5. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:5:p:1039-1054 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1628-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. West, Joel & Kuk, George, 2016. "The complementarity of openness: How MakerBot leveraged Thingiverse in 3D printing," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 169-181.
    8. Jong, Simcha & Slavova, Kremena, 2014. "When publications lead to products: The open science conundrum in new product development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 645-654.

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