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Motivation and sorting of human capital in open innovation

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  • Belenzon, Sharon
  • Schankerman, Mark

Abstract

This paper studies how business models can be designed to tap effectively into open innovation labor markets with heterogeneously motivated workers. Using data on open source software, we show that motivations are diverse, and demonstrate how managers can strategically influence the flow of code contributions and their impact on project performance. Unlike previous literature using survey data, we exploit the observed pattern of project membership and code contributions-the "revealed preference" of developers-to infer the motivations driving their decision to contribute. Developers strongly sort along key dimensions of the business model chosen by project managers, especially the degree of openness of the project license. The results indicate an important role for intrinsic motivation, reputation, and labor market signaling, and a more limited role for reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

  • Belenzon, Sharon & Schankerman, Mark, 2015. "Motivation and sorting of human capital in open innovation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58514, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:58514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Suhada, Thontowi A. & Ford, Jerad A. & Verreynne, Martie-Louise & Indulska, Marta, 2021. "Motivating individuals to contribute to firms’ non-pecuniary open innovation goals," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    2. Frank Nagle, 2018. "Learning by Contributing: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Contribution to Crowdsourced Public Goods," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 569-587, August.
    3. Vivianna Fang He & Phanish Puranam & Yash Raj Shrestha & Georg von Krogh, 2020. "Resolving governance disputes in communities: A study of software license decisions," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(10), pages 1837-1868, October.
    4. Islam, Mazhar & Miller, Jacob & Park, Haemin Dennis, 2017. "But what will it cost me? How do private costs of participation affect open source software projects?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 1062-1070.
    5. Shaphali Gupta, 2020. "Understanding the feasibility and value of grassroots innovation," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 48(5), pages 941-965, September.
    6. Qinghua Xia & Qinwei Cao & Manqing Tan, 2020. "Basic research intensity and diversified performance: the moderating role of government support intensity," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 125(1), pages 577-605, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    strategic human capital; sorting; motivations; open innovation; open source; intellectual property rights;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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