eZ Publish Research Study Results


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A presentation made at Utrecht University at the SIKS Symposium on Advancing Dynamic Capability in March 2014. The presentation presents our research findings of a study of the eZ Systems online community eZ Publishg: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471772714000025

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  • In a study of open software communities, West and O’Mahony find that platform ownership (firm-based or community-based) has a significant effect on boundary management (West and O’Mahony, 2008). They contrast autonomous, open source software development communities that are started by individuals or groups and that are self-managed by the community as they grow organically over time with firm-sponsored ones. In the latter, a profit-orientated firm sponsors the community and may provide and run the community platform (in an online setting) and take a lead in boundary activities. West and O’Mahony argue that autonomous communities generally tend to be more generative (West and O’Mahony, 2008). Generative capacity versus control
  • Background Image Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atranman/5016786784/sizes/l/
  • http://ez.no/company/news/ez_systems_wins_the_red_herring_global_100Selected as a Red Herring 100 winner is a mark of distinction and high honor. Only 200 companies are chosen as finalists out of a pool of thousands. Of those finalists Red Herring selected 100 companies as winners. To decide on these companies the Red Herring editorial team diligently surveys entrepreneurship around the globe. Technology industry executives, investors, and observers regard the Red Herring 100 lists as invaluable instruments to discover and advocate the promising startups that will lead the next wave of disruption and innovation. Past award winners include Google, Yahoo!, Skype, Netscape, Salesforce.com, and YouTube.
  • eZ Systems wants to create a killer communityDiscussions with eZ Share Director led to the questions: How does the firm’s involvement impact the innovation capacity of the community?How is the firm’s learning ability impacted by the involvement with the community?
  • eZ Publish Research Study Results

    1. 1. Balancing on a Tightrope: Managing the Boundaries of a Firm-sponsored OSS Community and its Impact on Innovation and Absorptive Capacity March 2014 Robin Teigland Stockholm School of Economics Sweden Paul M. Di Gangi Loyola University of Maryland USA Björn-Tore Flåten University of Agder Norway Elia Giovacchini Stockholm University Sweden Nicolas Pastorino eZ Systems Director Community
    2. 2. Presentation Structure Start Finish Key Findings Methodology Conclusions Research Questions Background of the Study
    3. 3. The Firm The Collective vs Second Life ~ Built by employees within organizational boundaries Open Simulator ~ Built by users and distributed freely regardless of affiliation. Models of Knowledge Creation
    4. 4. * More and more, firms are becoming part of distributed knowledge creation. e.g. IBM, Oracle, Intel (Bonaccorsi et al., 2006) * Community and firm share experiences and knowledge to co-create value * Community is seen as a complementary asset to be leveraged and combined with firm’s internal assets to deliver competitive solutions (Dahlander & Wallin, 2006) * However resources of community that firm wants to leverage are outside firm boundaries and embedded in community with competing logic * Firms try to influence the communities in different ways (Dahlander & Wallin, 2006; Dahlander &Magnusson, 2008; Jarvenpaa & Lang, 2011; West & O’Mahony, 2008) Involvement of Firms in Open Source Communities
    5. 5. Opportunities and Challenges with Firm- sponsored OSS Communities  OSS communities as complementary asset for firms with great potential for firms to turn community outputs into new service offerings  BUT, potential for goal conflict between the firm and the community since firms in control – Firm’s goal is to profit from the investment – Community’s goal is to improve the shared technology
    6. 6. But there’s tension... Private Model Distribution of returns and delegation of value creation solely to organization Collective Model Openness and free distribution of intellectual ideas for common or public good VS von Hippel & von Krogh 2003
    7. 7. Theoretical Background Boundary management (Jarvenpaa & Lang 2011) The set of activities involved in defining, negotiating, and protecting organizational resources and domains of action as well as managing external stakeholder relationships to achieve organizational goals Four boundary management logics: 1. Boundary of power 2. Boundary of identity 3. Boundary of competence 4. Boundary of transactional efficiency These four cannot be studied in isolation as it is their integrative management that influences the community’s innovation capacity Absorptive capacity (Cohen & Levinthal 1990) The firm’s ability to continuously transform knowledge and ideas (e.g., learn) into new innovations Please see our paper for references: Teigland, R., Di Gangi, P., Flåten, B-T., Giovacchini, E., Pastorino, N. (2014). Balancing on a tightrope: Managing the boundaries of a firm-sponsored OSS community and its impact on innovation and absorptive capacity. Information & Organization, 24, 25–47.
    8. 8. Research Questions 1. How does the boundary management of a firm-sponsored OSS community impact the community’s innovation capacity? 1. How does the boundary management of a firm-sponsored OSS community impact the firm’s absorptive capacity?
    9. 9. 105 emp 350+ Partners 42,000+ Community members 15,000+ Customers in 130 countries • Founded 1999 • Content management software, #1 in media industry • 250,000 sites in 170 countries • Customers: UN, FT, WSJ, Vogue, Hitachi, 3M, BMW • 105 employees in 9 countries (US, Europe & Asia)
    10. 10. eZ Systems wants to create a killer community “As a community... if you give them the little finger, they take the whole hand – they want more when you give them something, and if they don't get something, then they get irritated. We are a company and not a charity, so we have to make money – but this is a challenge and you have to differentiate between what you give away for free and what you sell." - eZ senior manager
    11. 11. Research Methodology • Case study of eZ Systems and its firm-sponsored OSS community • 19 semi-structured interviews – 5 eZ employees – 14 affiliated partners, entrepreneurs, or OSS hobbyists – On average, interviewees were 34,9 years old, were male, and held a minimum of an undergraduate degree (typically Computer Science) – Interviews lasting 45-120 minutes each – All interviews recorded and transcribed • Literature-driven thematic analysis with coding of the transcripts 11
    12. 12. RQ1: Boundary Management & Community Innovation Capacity • Power – Sometimes maybe people do want to share results of their work, but their boss does not want them to do so because the results of their work would then be given to the competition – so you always feel there is this tension of sharing some things but not everything … because of competitors. • Identity – And then eZ systems says yes, no, you know, well, we could do this, and we could do that, and bla-bla-bla, but at the end of the day, nothing is done. And that generates a negative point of view from the community towards eZ Systems. • Competence – Most of the code was written by us (eZ), and extensions and addon modifications were done by the community. • Transactional Efficiency – The great advantage is that it will also allow us all to work together much more easily on larger product features. From A to Z - from the idea being submitted in eZ Roadmap to the final QA, testing and documentation, through functional specifications, technical specs, and development.
    13. 13. RQ2: Boundary Management & Firm Absorptive Capacity • External Environment – We went the way that the community suggested …. and this is exactly where we got very big value from community – if we had executed our internal plans, then we would have probably distanced ourselves from our customers and partners. • Collective Dimension – He (Community manager) is formalizing the unspoken roles we have had for a while. And he is trying to see how we can … bring people to do something we can use immediately through the community project. • Individual Dimension – It is not very simple for employees to act in the community – everything is taken as a statement by the company even if this was on personal level... But it becomes problematic because within the company there is not too much communication. So when roadmaps and priorities change and then an employee says something, this might not be true anymore.
    14. 14. Findings – Research Model
    15. 15. Key Findings eZ’s boundary management of the community plays a crucial role in community’s innovation capacity, with Power having the most importance. Importance of maintaining relationships not only within eZ to understand and absorb ideas and knowledge from community but also with the larger OSS and business community. Community’s innovation capacity directly impacts eZ’s absorptive capacity. Additionally, an integrative IT platform supports the development of community innovation capacity and firm absorptive capacity. 1 2 3
    16. 16. Conclusions • The study extends our understanding of boundary management of firm- sponsored OSS communities. • Firms interested in leveraging a firm- sponsored community must balance on a tightrope since tension between the firm’s goals and the community’s goals. Further research should investigate how firms that want to sponsor or engage communities can adapt their internal organizations to better fit with community-intensive innovation activities.
    17. 17. Thank You! If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us: pdigangi@gmail.com robin.teigland@hhs.se bjorn-tore.flaten@uia.no egi@fek.su.se
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