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Skills, Division of Labor and Performance in Collective Inventions. Evidence from the Open Source Software

Author

Listed:
  • Paola Giuri
  • Matteo Ploner
  • Francesco Rullani
  • Salvatore Torrisi

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of skills and the division of labor among participants in collective inventions. Our analysis draws on a large sample of projects registered at Sourceforge.net, the world’s largest incubator of open source software activity. We explore the hypothesis that the level of skills of participants and their skill variety are important for project performance. Skill heterogeneity across participants is in line with two fundamental organizational features of the open source development model: team work and modular design. We also test the hypothesis whether the level of modularization of project activities is an important predictor of performance. The results provide support to the hypothesis that the skill level is important for the survival of open source projects. Moreover, we found that skill heterogeneity is positive for innovation. Finally, design modularity is positively associated with the performance of the project.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Giuri & Matteo Ploner & Francesco Rullani & Salvatore Torrisi, 2004. "Skills, Division of Labor and Performance in Collective Inventions. Evidence from the Open Source Software," LEM Papers Series 2004/19, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2004/19
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    File URL: http://www.lem.sssup.it/WPLem/files/2004-19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 2004. "The Determinants of Output Per Contributor in Open Source Projects: An Empirical Examination," CEPR Discussion Papers 4329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Samer Faraj & Lee Sproull, 2000. "Coordinating Expertise in Software Development Teams," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(12), pages 1554-1568, December.
    3. Jean-Michel Dalle & Paul David, 2005. "The Allocation of Software Development Resources In ‘Open Source’ Production Mode," Industrial Organization 0502011, EconWPA.
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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. Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Dragging developers towards the core. How the Free/Libre/Open Source Software community enhances developers' contribution," LEM Papers Series 2006/22, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Andrea Fosfuri & Marco S. Giarratana & Alessandra Luzzi, 2005. "Firm Assets and Investments in Open Source Software Products," DRUID Working Papers 05-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    4. Paul A. David & Francesco Rullani, 2008. "Dynamics of innovation in an “open source” collaboration environment: lurking, laboring, and launching FLOSS projects on SourceForge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 647-710, August.
    5. Palomeras, Neus & Melero, Eduardo, 2012. "The renaissance of the "renaissance man"? : specialists vs. generalists in teams of inventors," INDEM - Working Paper Business Economic Series id-12-01, Instituto para el Desarrollo Empresarial (INDEM).
    6. Sebastian von Engelhardt & Andreas Freytag & Christoph Schulz, 2013. "On the Geographic Allocation of Open Source Software Activities," International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy (IJIDE), IGI Global, vol. 4(2), pages 25-39, April.
    7. Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Dragging developers towards the core," KITeS Working Papers 190, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Feb 2007.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Software; Technological innovation; Human capital; Modularity;

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