SME’s participation to Free Libre Open Source Software Communities

Michail Batikas
Dr. Miquel Oliver, Dr. Esteve Almirall

Motivations in FLOSS have always been a subject of great interest, by starting with the most obvious question, “why people work for free?”. The motivations of developers have been well established (eg von Hippel (2001), Lerner and Tirole 2002). The same exists also for big and small companies adopting FLOSS based Business Models (eg Lakhani and von Hippel, 2003; Fitzgerald 2006; Krishnamurthy, 2004). However an increasing number of SMEs with strategies not directly related to the Business Model are contributing to FLOSS communities. In this study we try to investigate these motivations under a behavioral perspective by using a research model based on TPB (Theory of Planned Behavior). We demonstrated that factors like the “openness” of a SME, the perceived importance of FLOSS, the developers (employees) of a SME along with the external environment of a SME, could influence the decision of a SME to participate in FLOSS communities. Also, we have demonstrated that some differences can be identified between high tech firms and non high tech firms. These findings can help national or regional governments to design better policies in order to better promote the use and the participation of firms to FLOSS communities. Especially now, in times of heavy economical crisis in Europe, FLOSS can be an adequate solution to foster innovation.

Defense date: 
Theory of planned behavior, theory of reasoned action, Open innovation, OSS, partial least squares, Tragedy of the Commons, Herding Behavior, structural equation modeling, case studies, Free Libre Open Source Software