Is Open Source about innovation? How interactions with the Open Source community impact on the innovative performances of entrepreneurial ventures
Practitioners generally assert that collaboration with the Open Source software (OSS) community enables young software firms to achieve superior innovation performance. Nonetheless, to the best of our knowledge, scholars have never extensively speculated about this assertion or rigorously tested it. In this paper, we attempt to do so. First, we root on the entrepreneurship literature and on the OSS research stream to discuss and empirically investigate whether entrepreneurial ventures collaborating with the OSS community (OSS EVs) achieve innovation performance superior to that of their non-collaborating peers. Then, we refer to the concept of absorptive capacity to determine which factors make OSS EVs better able to leverage their collaboration with the OSS community for innovation purposes. Our econometric estimates use a sample of 230 firms and indicate that OSS EVs collaborating with the OSS community achieve superior innovation. At the same time, the impact of community collaborations on innovation is stronger for EVs that are endowed with more skilled human capital, have experience with firm- OSS community collaboration, and actively contribute to the community.
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