Building on the problem-solving perspective, we study behaviors related to projects and the communication-based antecedents of such behaviors in the free open-source software (FOSS) community. We examine two kinds of problem/project-behaviors: Individuals can set up projects around the formulation of new problems or join existing projects and define and/or work on subproblems within an existing problem. The choice between these two behaviors is influenced by the mode of communication. A communication mode with little a priori structure is the best mode for communicating about new problems (i.e., formulating a problem); empirically, it is associated with project launching behaviors. In contrast, more structured communication fits subproblems better and is related to project joining behaviors. Our hypotheses derive support from data from the FOSS community.

Research summary: Building on the problem-solving perspective, we study behaviors related to projects and the communication-based antecedents of such behaviors in the free open-source software (FOSS) community. We examine two kinds of problem/project-behaviors: Individuals can set up projects around the formulation of new problems or join existing projects and define and/or work on subproblems within an existing problem. The choice between these two behaviors is influenced by the mode of communication. A communication mode with little a priori structure is the best mode for communicating about new problems (i.e., formulating a problem); empirically, it is associated with project launching behaviors. In contrast, more structured communication fits subproblems better and is related to project joining behaviors. Our hypotheses derive support from data from the FOSS community.Managerial summary: We study how the way in which individuals communicate influence the project-behaviors they engage in. We find that relatively unstructured communication is associated with the setting up new projects, while communication that is structured around an artifact is associated with joining projects. Our findings hold implications for understanding how management may influence project behaviors and problem-solving: Firms that need to concentrate on more incremental problem-solving efforts (e.g., because a sufficient number of attractive problems have already been defined) should create environments in which interaction is undertaken mainly via artifacts. On the other hand, if firms seek to generate new problems (e.g., new strategic opportunities), they should create environments in which open-ended, verbal conversation is relatively more important than artifact-based communication. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Problem-formulation and problem-solving in self-organized communities: How modes of communication shape project behaviors in the free open-source software community

Rullani Francesco
2016

Abstract

Building on the problem-solving perspective, we study behaviors related to projects and the communication-based antecedents of such behaviors in the free open-source software (FOSS) community. We examine two kinds of problem/project-behaviors: Individuals can set up projects around the formulation of new problems or join existing projects and define and/or work on subproblems within an existing problem. The choice between these two behaviors is influenced by the mode of communication. A communication mode with little a priori structure is the best mode for communicating about new problems (i.e., formulating a problem); empirically, it is associated with project launching behaviors. In contrast, more structured communication fits subproblems better and is related to project joining behaviors. Our hypotheses derive support from data from the FOSS community.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3717662
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