Control vs Freedom: How Companies Manage Knowledge Sharing with Open Source Software Communities

Wissel, Juliane
Zaggl, Michael
Lindberg, Aron
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Knowledge sharing is essential for successful collaboration between companies and external communities. We lack knowledge regarding the micro-processes companies deliberately introduce to manage knowledge sharing with such outside parties. We research these processes in the context of collaboration between companies and open source software (OSS) communities by posing the question: How do companies design explicit mechanisms to manage knowledge exchange with OSS communities? We conduct an explorative case study at Siemens AG. Siemens introduced a formal template process which can be adapted by the organizational units according to their demands. Results show that the extent to which the process is implemented depends on the level of closeness to core intellectual property of the organizational unit and the intensity of the involvement in OSS communities. Developers use several methods to shortcut the process. Our study contributes to the literature on organizational knowledge sharing, company-involved OSS development, and open innovation of firms.
Knowledge Flow, Transfer, Sharing, and Exchange, interorganizational knowledge sharing, knowledge contribution process, knowledge flow barriers, open source software, process design
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