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CIO herds and user gangs in the adoption of open source software

  • Miralles, Francesc

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Sieber, Sandra


    (IESE Business School)

  • Valor, Josep

    (IESE Business School)

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    Open Source Software (OSS) has received wide attention from the research community, analyzing both the innovation process of software development by distributed and unrelated teams, and the market dynamics at play between "free" and proprietary software. Up until now, OSS adoption has been irregular, although it seems to be breaking the dominance of existing players in some market segments. In this paper, we contend that due to the particularities of its development process, traditional ways of explaining IT adoption -rational decision making, technology diffusion models, and the psychology of the decision maker- are insufficient to explain the case of OSS diffusion. We believe that the existence of a strong and diffused development community leads to a new role of the user community, as both are intertwined. In addition, new concerns for social corporate responsibility and welfare create a new context, in which "user gangs" may exert some degrees of pressure on the IT decision maker. By analyzing some significant cases we depict under what conditions significant OSS adoption may unfold, showing that in two of the cases studied user gangs play a significant role. The resulting preliminary framework will inform future work, in which we aim at validating the emerging insights gained in this research.

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    Paper provided by IESE Business School in its series IESE Research Papers with number D/595.

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    Length: 17 pages
    Date of creation: 17 Jun 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0595
    Contact details of provider: Postal: IESE Business School, Av Pearson 21, 08034 Barcelona, SPAIN
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    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. Robert G. Fichman & Chris F. Kemerer, 1997. "The Assimilation of Software Process Innovations: An Organizational Learning Perspective," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(10), pages 1345-1363, October.
    3. Randolph B. Cooper & Robert W. Zmud, 1990. "Information Technology Implementation Research: A Technological Diffusion Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(2), pages 123-139, February.
    4. M. Lynne Markus & Daniel Robey, 1988. "Information Technology and Organizational Change: Causal Structure in Theory and Research," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(5), pages 583-598, May.
    5. Stefano Comino & Fabio M. Manenti, 2003. "Open Source vs Closed Source Software: Public Policies in the Software Market," Industrial Organization 0306001, EconWPA.
    6. Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Rossi, Cristina, 2003. "Why Open Source software can succeed," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1243-1258, July.
    7. Eric von Hippel, 1994. ""Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(4), pages 429-439, April.
    8. John R. Graham, 1999. "Herding among Investment Newsletters: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 237-268, 02.
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