Ideological shifts in open source orchestration: Examining the influence of licence choice and organisational participation on open source project outcomes

Poonacha K. Medappa*, Shirish C. Srivastava

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Though volunteer-driven Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS) development were founded on the ideological beliefs of “openness” and “absence of any commercial appropriation”, in recent years, FLOSS movement has witnessed two ideological shifts. First, the emergence of “permissive FLOSS licences” that allow commercial appropriation of the collaboratively developed code, and second, “organisational ownership” of FLOSS projects. Because ideological beliefs shape the motivational needs of the volunteer contributors, and motivational needs influence the dominant work structures, it is expected that ideological shifts could influence the mechanisms through which work is orchestrated in FLOSS projects. Motivated by the need to understand the impact of these ideological shifts, we theorise the mechanisms through which the two ideological shifts alter the influence of FLOSS work structures on project outcomes of popularity and survival. Adopting an instrument variable approach, our analysis of projects hosted on GitHub confirms the significance of both the ideological shifts with some interesting contextual differences across the two project outcomes. Specifically, we find that the ideological shift pertaining to licence type has a significant influence on both the examined project outcomes, whereas organisational ownership has a significant influence only on the popularity of FLOSS projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-520
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems: An official journal of the Operational Research Society
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online dateJun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Open source software
  • ideologies
  • structures of work
  • licence
  • superposition
  • instrument variable

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