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Organising the digital commons: a case study on engagement strategies in open source

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In this paper we develop a conceptual framework for understanding the co-evolution of a virtual community and a hybrid governance regime. The research site is the Eclipse software development community led by IBM and based on data collected from activities of community members, we examine the attempts of participants to construct and refine a hybrid governance structure while developing and expanding the community. Drawing on strategy-as-practice approach and institutional theory, we bring arguments at two instances of this co-evolution process: the initiation and enactment. For the initiation of the community we argue that, beyond market-driven considerations, tensions and polarisation in the existing proprietary regimes, governance structures, and philosophies promote new practices. For the establishment process we emphasise the role of member-driven horizontal and vertical structural adjustments, and the maintenance of open-source developer spirit.
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Keywords: community evolution; governance; open source; virtual community

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Computer Science,Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey 2: Department of Business Administration,Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: 01 October 2011

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