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Is open source software living up to its promises? Insights for open innovation management from two open source software-inspired projects

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At present, several virtual initiatives claim to be acting according to the open source software (OSS) arena, which is often deemed a role model for open innovation. Against this background, this research focuses on a comparative case study of two non-profit project networks that attempt to operate in line with the OSS phenomenon: Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, and the development of an automobile, Open Source car. We show that many parallels to the OSS arena can be drawn in both cases. However, this analysis must be performed cautiously, as several factors limit the applicability of OSS principles to non-software-related arenas. We conclude with a discussion of implications for open innovation research and managerial practice.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Management, Freie Universität Berlin, Boltzmannstr. 20, 14195 Berlin, Germany;, Email: 2: University of Potsdam, August-Bebel-Str. 89, 14482, Potsdam, Germany;, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2009


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