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Journal Article

Relationships between open source software companies and communities: Observations from Nordic firms

Research Policy 34 (4): 481–493
Linus Dahlander, Mats G. Magnusson (2005)
Technology, R&D management
communities; relationships; open source software
This paper deals with the relationships between firms and communities in open source software (OSS). A particular feature of OSS is that important resources are not directly controlled by firms, but partly reside within communities that co-exist with the firms. Despite this, firms explicitly try to utilize the resources within these communities in order to create and appropriate value. Consequently, the relationships that firms have to these communities influence their way of doing business. Based on case studies of Nordic OSS firms, a typology consisting of symbiotic, commensalistic, and parasitic approaches to handle the firm-community relationship is developed. Depending on the chosen approach, firms encounter different managerial issues and also use different operational means of subtle control. While firms relying on a symbiotic approach have greater possibility to influence the community through subtle means of control, they are also confronted with more challenging managerial issues.
With permission of Elsevier
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