Promoting the Penguin: Who is Advocating Open Source Software in Commercial Settings?

TitlePromoting the Penguin: Who is Advocating Open Source Software in Commercial Settings?
Publication TypeUnpublished
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAlexy, O, Henkel, J
Secondary TitleWorking Paper
Date PublishedMarch

Most firms that use or develop software today face the questions of whether and how to engage in open source software (OSS). Yet, little is known about the process of OSS adoption and diffusion within corporations. Guided by the models of Rogers (innovation diffusion) and Davis (Technology Acceptance Model), we develop a theoretical framework of how job function influences individuals? proclivity to support their employers? adoption of OSS and OSS practices. We argue that job function determines an individual?s tasks, and that different tasks are differentially affected by OSS. Our study is based on interviews and a large-scale survey in a multinational corporation. Distinguishing between developers, testers, software architects, project managers, and managers, we find greater engagement in OSS to be favored most strongly by testers. Excepting project managers, developers, despite having the most experience with OSS, are the least favorably disposed to greater corporate OSS engagement. A corporation interested in adopting OSS should thus take into account the job function-related incentives of each individual. More generally, we propose that models predicting IT adoption behavior be extended to account for the ways in which individual adopters interact with the innovation at hand, which will be determined largely by their job functions.

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