Balancing on a tightrope: Managing the boundaries of a firm-sponsored OSS community and its impact on innovation and absorptive capacity

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Realizing the innovation potential of OSS communities, firms now create or sponsor their own open source software (OSS) communities, generally as part of an open innovation strategy. However, maximizing the innovation capability of a sponsored OSS community is a challenging task since firms cannot rely on traditional hierarchical authority to control community members. Furthermore, a firm's efforts to manage its sponsored community may also impact the firm's absorptive capacity, or its ability to effectively absorb and leverage the valuable knowledge created by the community. Thus, the purpose of this article is to investigate two research questions: 1) How does the boundary management of a firm-sponsored OSS community impact the community's innovation capacity? and 2) How does the boundary management of a firm-sponsored OSS community impact the firm's absorptive capacity? Using the results from our qualitative analysis of eZ Systems and its successfully sponsored OSS community - eZ Publish - we develop a theoretical model depicting how the boundary management of a firm-sponsored OSS community influences both the community's innovation capacity and the absorptive capacity of the firm. In addition, the results of our study highlight the central importance of an integrative IT platform in boundary management activities. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Teigland R; Di Gangi PM; Flåten BT; Giovacchini E; Pastorino N
  • Start Page

  • 25
  • End Page

  • 47
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 1