Co-membership, Networks Ties, and OSS Success: An Investigation Controlling for Alternative Mechanisms for Knowledge Flow

Peng, Gang
Yu, Feng (George)
Peng, Yiqun
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Co-membership has been considered as a major mechanism for constructing social networks, but it has met many criticisms over time for failing to control for alternative mechanisms for knowledge flow. Although social networks constructed in online environment can reduce such possibilities, it is not without limitations. One possible mechanism for learning and knowledge flow is direct watching and observation. This study investigates the impact of co-membership taking into account the alternative mechanism of watching under the setting of OSS development at GitHub. It finds that both co-membership and watching contribute positively to OSS success, and thus shows the co-existence of both experiential learning and vicarious learning for OSS development. Moreover, it finds the impact of co-membership is much stronger than watching. While the impact of co-membership may be biased in prior literature, this study confirms that co-membership is indeed an effective mechanism for constructing online social networks for knowledge flow.
Knowledge Flows, Transfer, Sharing and Exchange, co-membership, GitHub, knowledge flow, network ties, OSS success
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