User-generated open source products: Founder's social capital and time to product release

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Marketing Science, 2012, 31 (3), pp. 474 - 492
Issue Date:
2012-05-01
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Volunteer users employ collaborative Internet technologies to develop open source products, a form of usergenerated content, where time to product release is a crucial measure of project success. The open source community features two separate but related subcommunities: developer users who contribute time and effort to develop products and end users who act as collaborative testers and provide feedback. We develop hypotheses concerning how the location of the project's founders in the social network of developer users, the interplay of developer users and end users, and project and product characteristics affect time to product release. We use data on 817 development projects from SourceForge, a large open source community forum, to calibrate a split hazard model to test the hypotheses. That model supports the two-community conceptualization and most of the related hypotheses. The results have theoretical and managerial implications; for example, a pivotal position of founders in the developer user community can reduce time to product release by up to 31%, and projects in which users are more engaged can experience an 11% shorter time to product release compared with those projects in which they are not. © 2012 INFORMS.
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