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Open Source Software Production, Spontaneous Input, and Organizational Learning

Authors

  • GIAMPAOLO GARZARELLI,

    1. Institutions and Political Economy Group (IPEG) at the University of the Witwatersrand
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    • Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Institutions and Political Economy Group (IPEG) at the University of the Witwatersrand and, from November 2011, Researches at the Dipartimento di Analisi Economiche e Sociali, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy. Direct correspondence to: Giampaolo Garzarelli, IPEG, School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag X3, WITS 2050, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa; email: Giampaolo.Garzarelli@Wits.ac.za; +27.11.717.8128 (Tel.); +27.11.717.8081 (Fax).

  • RICCARDO FONTANELLA

    1. Institutions and Political Economy Group (IPEG) at the University of the Witwatersrand
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    • Junior Research Fellow, Institutions and Political Economy Group (IPEG) at the University of the Witwatersrand; email: fontiric@gmail.com.


Abstract

This work shows that the modular organization of voluntary open source software (OSS) production, whereby programmers supply effort of their accord, capitalizes more on division than on specialization of labor. This is so because voluntary OSS production is characterized by an organizational learning process that dominates the individual one. Organizational learning reveals production choices that would otherwise remain unknown, thereby increasing productivity and indirectly reinforcing incentives to undertake collective problem solving.

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