Project leaders as boundary spanners in open source software development: A resource dependence perspective

Nov 11th, 2020 | By | Category: RSS Feed


Digital social innovation is important for addressing various social needs, especially from those who are economically disadvantaged. For instance, open source software (OSS) is developed by mass collaboration on digital communities to provide software users free alternatives to commercial products. OSS is particularly valuable to meet the needs of numerous disadvantaged users for whom proprietary software is not affordable. While OSS projects are lack of formal organizational structure, project leaders play a significant role in initiating and managing these projects and eventually, influencing the degree to which the developed software is used and liked by users. Drawing on resource dependence theory, we investigate the impacts of two team?level characteristics of OSS project leaders (ie, size and tenure) on how well the developed software can address users’ needs, with regard to the quantity of software being used by users and the quality of software to users’ satisfaction. Further, from a resource dependence perspective, we examine the moderating role of project leaders’ network ties in shaping the contingency of these effects. By using a large?scale dataset from 43?048 OSS development projects in SourceForge community, we find empirical evidence corroborating our theory. Taken together, our findings suggest the boundary?spanning role of project leaders in developing digital social innovation.


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