The emergence of governance in an open source community

by S. O'Mahony and F. Ferraro


Little is known about how communities producing collective goods govern themselves. In a multimethod study of one open source software community, we found that members developed a shared basis of formal authority but limited it with democratic mechanisms that enabled experimentation with shifting conceptions of authority over time. When members settled on a shared conception of authority, it was more expansive than their original design. A statistical test of the predictors of leadership reinforced this finding. By blending bureaucratic and democratic mechanisms, the governance system evolved with the community's changing conceptions of authority. [AUTHORS ABSTRACT]



O'Mahony, S., and Ferraro, F.: The emergence of governance in an open source community, The Academy of Management Journal ARCHIVE 50(5), 1079–1106, 2007


        title = "The emergence of governance in an open source community",
        author = "S. {O'Mahony} and F. Ferraro",
        journal = "The Academy of Management Journal {ARCHIVE}",
        pages = "1079--1106",
        volume = "50",
        number = "5",
        year = "2007",
        issn = "00014273",
        doi = "10.5465/AMJ.2007.27169153",