The purpose of this paper is to show how members of a “vintage community of practice” (CoP) – the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) community – recombine old technological knowledge with new technological knowledge. A vintage CoP is a group of aficionados of old technology who keep using it even after superior new technologies have emerged and technological change has taken place. This paper presents mechanisms through which developers and gamers in the MAME community and its subcommunities or hubs select and recombine old and new technology to update old arcade videogames in a format that is playable on current personal computers (PCs).
An inductive single-case exploratory case study was conducted in the MAME community. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with core community members to uncover mechanisms through which old technology-related knowledge (T-RK) was combined with new T-RK to update old versions of arcade video games into software versions that can be played on current PCs. Informant discourses were analyzed using first- and second-order coding methods.
Our data revealed three mechanisms through which community leaders positively impact new and old T-RK recombinations that led to new knowledge creation within the MAME vintage CoP. We named these mechanisms leader mentorship, leader self-development propensity and clustering in the community. Our data also revealed a two-phase knowledge creation process in an open-source software community (OSSC) that supports the MAME community: knowledge selection and knowledge recombination.
The study is limited by the size of the investigated community, so further research should be conducted in multiple vintage CoPs so as to generalize our results.
Our results offer practitioners insights into the internal knowledge creation mechanisms that occur in vintage CoPs. Our findings seek to motivate managers to start collaborating with vintage CoPs to develop products for the niche vintage product markets.
This research is one of the first in the field of vintage communities of practice. It affords understanding of social mechanisms by which old technologies are combined with new ones to give rise to vintage products that suit the needs of niche vintage product markets.
Schiavone, F. and Borzillo, S. (2014), "Creating technological knowledge in vintage communities of practice", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 991-1003. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-06-2014-0251Download as .RIS
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