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How do different stakeholder groups within an open source software project influence the project's development: a case study of OpenSimulator

Paul Di Gangi (Department of Management, Information Systems, and Quantitative Methods, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
Robin Teigland (Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Zeynep Yetis (Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 12 December 2022

42

Abstract

Purpose

This research investigates how the value creation interests and activities of different stakeholder groups within one open source software (OSS) project influence the project's development over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a case study of OpenSimulator using textual and thematic analyses of the initial four years of OpenSimulator developer mailing list to identify each stakeholder group and guide our analysis of their interests and value creation activities over time.

Findings

The analysis revealed that while each stakeholder group was active within the OSS project's development, the different groups possessed complementary interests that enabled the project to evolve. In the formative period, entrepreneurs were interested in the software's strategic direction in the market, academics and SMEs in software functionality and large firms and hobbyists in software testing. Each group retained its primary interest in the maturing period with academics and SMEs separating into server- and client-side usability. The analysis shed light on how the different stakeholder groups overcame tensions amongst themselves and took specific actions to sustain the project.

Originality/value

The authors extend stakeholder theory by reconceptualizing the focal organization and its stakeholders for OSS projects. To date, OSS research has primarily focused on examining one project relative to its marketplace. Using stakeholder theory, we identified stakeholder groups within a single OSS project to demonstrate their distinct interests and how these interests influence their value creation activities over time. Collectively, these interests enable the project's long-term development.

Keywords

Citation

Di Gangi, P., Teigland, R. and Yetis, Z. (2022), "How do different stakeholder groups within an open source software project influence the project's development: a case study of OpenSimulator", Information Technology & People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-10-2021-0751

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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