Materializing Commons Based Peer Production Beyond Open Source Software – Explorative Insights from a Comparative Case Study
27 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 6, 2013
Benkler's (2002) model of Commons Based Peer Production (CBPP) has been one of the seminal concepts explaining the economic institutions behind open source software (OSS). In this paper, we first review the impact of the CBPP model in the literature and then investigate its transferability to domains beyond the open source software arena. By doing so, we explore an explicit proposition of Benkler that open source and open collaboration models are suited for developing a wide range of products and services, given that an adequate IT environment facilitates their development. Using a comparative case study approach, we analyse four projects that attempt to operate in line with the CBPP development principles, but pursue developing non-software related outputs (electronic components, automobiles) or public services (mobility services, political agenda setting). We show that in general the CBPP framework is well-suited to explain open value creation related to idea generation and evaluation as well as to designing prototypes in these domains. However, we also find several factors which limit its actual implementation in domains beyond the conventional OSS domain. We present implications for theory development, management practice, and policy, and develop a number of questions for future research.
Keywords: Open source software, commons-based peer production, open data, open hardware, open innovation, qualitative research, case studies
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