For presentation at INSNA Sunbelt XXXII, Redondo Beach, CA, March 2012                        SETTING THE STAGE:  EXPLORIN...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	                             SETTING THE STAGE:       EXPLORING SUSTAINAB...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	                                       INTRODUCTIONKnowledge creation is ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  organizing practices to sustainably achieve its goals. Understanding ho...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  PinkArmy; the physical goods industries, e.g., sports equipment (Franke...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  community to ensure its continued success so that IBM can turn communit...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  knowledge with one another, private-collective communities may require ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  influence the direction of the community as well as its sustainability....
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  motivations have been categorized based on self-determination theory (S...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  case accounted for more than 80% of the contributions (Mockus et al., 2...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  should be investigated since an organization’s stakeholders are likely ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  private-collective community based on virtual worlds, we investigate ou...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  apart from traditional open source projects. Since the project develops...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  First, we conducted 10 unstructured and then 10 semi-structured intervi...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	         Combining the textual analysis with the relational tie data coll...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  community (table 1). First, OpenSimulator is similar to other virtual I...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  resources and capabilities to create the software, but it also requires...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  OpenSimulator community is not a formal organization with organizationa...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  SourceForge, Ohloh, 4) official company websites and blogs, and 5) priv...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	         With the various stakeholder groups identified, we proceeded to ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  community. However, one of the benefits of OpenSimulator as is generall...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  to the community. Hobbyists were relatively less active; however, over ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  with a larger relative increase of Hobbyists in period two. Academics a...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  had entrepreneurial interests. In the second period, 82 individuals (81...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	         We find a pattern here similar to the above analysis. The Entrep...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  posted by the respective group compared to the sum of all messages by a...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	   processing and visualization while the SME Employees are focused on pr...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  infrastructure and application of virtual worlds in specific areas, e.g...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  group. Rather, these resources and capabilities are developed within th...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  RQ3: What characterizes the structure among the different stakeholders ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	                                          FIGURE 2 a-d          Network S...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  in virtual worlds versus the overall virtual world community). Also, Ac...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  equal connections to low-scoring nodes. These tests revealed again the ...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  while new members in period two (blue nodes) cluster together. Interest...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	         In terms of member turnover by stakeholder affiliation (table 7)...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	                                               FIGURE 5a           Collap...
Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis 	  contact that direct the actions of the community (through code contribu...
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt
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Teigland, di gangi, & yetis setting the stage sunbelt

  1. 1. For presentation at INSNA Sunbelt XXXII, Redondo Beach, CA, March 2012 SETTING THE STAGE: EXPLORING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF A PRIVATE-COLLECTIVE COMMUNITY Robin Teigland Department of Marketing and Strategy Stockholm School of Economics Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: robin.teigland@hhs.se Paul M. Di Gangi Department of Information Systems and Operations Management Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD e-mail: pmdigangi@loyola.edu Zeynep Yetis Department of Marketing and Strategy Stockholm School of Economics Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: zeynep.yetis@hhs.se March 2012 Please do not quote or cite without permission from the authors.Acknowledgement: We would like to sincerely thank the OpenSimulator Community for theiropenness and helpfulness in conducting this study. It has been a real pleasure and extremelyinteresting to work with all of you! We would also like to thank Tomas Larsson and ChristinaHuitfeldt for their support in our data collection and analysis.
  2. 2. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   SETTING THE STAGE: EXPLORING SUSTAINABILITY OF A PRIVATE-COLLECTIVE COMMUNITY ABSTRACT While private-collective communities, such as open source communities engagingdirectly with firms, are argued to provide the “best of both worlds” for knowledge creation, afundamental question is how can a community built using private resources and operating withthe ideals of a collective, sustain its operations and continue to produce attractive rewards forall parties involved? In this study, we propose that a stakeholder perspective using resourcedependence theory might shed light on this question, and as such, we develop three researchquestions: RQ1) What are the resources necessary to sustain a private-collective community?,RQ2) Who are the stakeholders of a private-collective community and what resources do theycontribute to the community?, and RQ3) What characterizes the structure among the differentstakeholders of a private-collective community? To investigate these questions, we conductedan exploratory case study of OpenSimulator, an open source community comprising amultitude of different actors developing a multi-platform, multi-user 3D application server thatenables individuals and firms to customize their virtual worlds based on technologypreferences. Analyses using semi-structured interviews, longitudinal archival data, word burstsof mailing list messages, and social network data of the community for the period August 2007to October 2011 revealed how the interrelations among the various stakeholder groupsinfluence the community’s sustainability over time, thus enabling us to come closer tofulfilling our ultimate aim of understanding the dynamics of a private-collective community.Keywords: private-collective, online community, emergent forms of organizing, socialnetwork analysis, resource dependency, stakeholders, open source software, virtual worlds   2
  3. 3. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   INTRODUCTIONKnowledge creation is one of the fundamental drivers of value creation in society and the firm-based model has generally been heralded by practitioners and researchers alike as the primarysource of knowledge creation. However, researchers have increasingly turned their attentiontowards challenging this assumption and have begun to explore models that focus largely oncollective environments as a means to create knowledge (e.g., Lee & Cole, 2003). Thesemodels have been juxtaposed with one another as they differ in their underlying assumptions.The firm-based model assumes support by private investors who expect to receive returns fromprivate goods through efficient regimes of intellectual property protection while the communitymodel is based on "collective action" in which innovators collaborate to produce a public goodcharacterized by non-excludability and non-rivalry (von Hippel & Von Krogh, 2003). von Hippel & von Krogh (2003) proposed a hybrid model labeled the “private-collective” model, which is characterized by 1) private individuals investing resources butforgoing any potential returns by freely revealing their innovation to the community and 2)firms that base some or all of their profits on the products or services developed by thecommunity (Dahlander & Magnusson, 2008). While von Hippel & von Krogh suggest thatprivate-collective communities provide the “best of both worlds” for knowledge creation, theirsustainability is dependent upon the ability of the different community actors to strike abalance between their often conflicting values, norms, and goals - a process that may beespecially difficult when the community is faced with an external environment characterizedby turbulent change. While research and industry demonstrate that firms organize value creation activitiesthrough formalizing their organizational boundaries and acquiring resources to developcommercially attractive products and/or services for consumers, we know relatively little abouthow a community comprised of numerous actors with divergent interests is able to adapt its   3
  4. 4. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  organizing practices to sustainably achieve its goals. Understanding how private-collectivecommunities sustain themselves adds a layer of complexity to a relatively unknown model oforganizing. How can a community built using private resources and operating with the idealsof a collective achieve benefits that are attractive to all parties in order to sustain its operationsand continue to produce rewards for all? Thus, the overarching question guiding this researchis the following: how do private-collective communities sustain themselves despite thedivergent interests within the community? The purpose of this study is to explore therelationships between different sets of private-collective community actors and investigates thestructures and resources by which different actors influence decision making, share power andresources, and self-organize in order to achieve sustainability, i.e., in order “to continueproviding benefits for members over the long term” (Butler, 2001: 347). In this article, we propose that a stakeholder perspective using resource dependencetheory might shed light on the sustainability of a private-collective community, and we applythis perspective and theory in an exploratory study of the OpenSimulator Community. Thenext section briefly summarizes the relevant literature on the private-collective form oforganizing and identifies three core questions that will be the focus of our investigation.Following this summary, an introduction of the research site and methods is presented beforewe discuss our analysis and findings. We conclude with contributions and future directions ofthis research. THEORETICAL BACKGROUNDDuring the past two decades, the widespread global adoption of internet-based communicationtechnologies has led to the development of numerous online communities. Many of the morewell-known and researched communities include those within the open source software (OSS)arena, such as LINUX, MySQL, Apache, and GNOME. However, communities are alsodeveloping within other knowledge-intensive industries, such as pharmaceuticals, e.g.,   4
  5. 5. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  PinkArmy; the physical goods industries, e.g., sports equipment (Franke & Shah; 2003; Shah,2000); and farm machinery, e.g., Jakubowski, 2011. As the number of communities grow sodoes participation by firms within them, and these firms are becoming significant players in theeconomy. For example, in 2006 a sample of 158 firms contributing to open source had a totalof 530,000 employees and total annual revenue of €231.4 billion (Mehra et al., 2010; UNU-MERIT, 2006). Within these communities, individuals from across the globe self-organize around ashared interest and common practices to create value through sharing knowledge andinnovating. Innovations can take many forms, such as idea generation, realization, prototyping,transfer, and diffusion. The challenge to these communities is that the knowledge produced isoften described as a privately produced public good (Kollack, 1998, 1999; Lerner and Tirole,2002; Johnson, 2001; Bessen, 2001; Weber, 2000; Hars & Ou, 2000; O’Mahony, 2003; vonHippel & von Krogh, 2003). First, this knowledge is the product of private collective effortsby individuals. Second, the knowledge is nonexclusive, i.e., it is available to all, and it is jointin supply, meaning its availability to others does not diminish when consumed by oneindividual (Snidal, 1979). Thus, the market for this knowledge is not necessarily someonebuying a product or service but instead is peers in the community interested in using theknowledge (Dahlander & Frederiksen, 2011; von Hippel, 2005). As a result, the community isa “very rich and fertile middle ground where incentives for private investment and collectiveaction can coexist and where a ‘private-collective’ innovation model can flourish" (von Hippel& von Krogh, 2003: p. 213). However, as we will see below, these communities are also ripewith paradoxes and challenges.Challenges to the Private-collective ModelPrivate-collective communities can be both sources of significant value and of potential pitfallsto firms interested in leveraging them. For example, IBM invests resources into the Apache   5
  6. 6. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  community to ensure its continued success so that IBM can turn community outputs intoservice offerings for their corporate clients that produce significant benefits for IBM. eZSystems, a Norwegian-based IT multinational, leverages a vast ecosystem of more than 41,000partners, clients, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists across the globe to support its eZ Publish webcontent management system, and as a result it continues to receive accolades from bothorganizations and media about its innovation process. However, not every firm’s partnershipwith a private-collective is a success story, and there are an equal if not higher number offailures where a firm expends resources with little return on investment or where thecommunity has disbanded due to unsustainable demands or divergent interests (Gartner, 2010). While the initial research in this area focused on individual motivations for communityparticipation, recently the field has begun to investigate the sustainability of onlinecommunities and in so doing has identified several factors such as the community’sgovernance system (O’Mahony & Ferraro, 2007), technology infrastructure (Ma & Agarwal,2007), and community design (Ren et al., 2007). However, in order for any community tosustain itself through providing valued benefits to its members, the community must ensurecontinued access to a pool of resources, such as time, energy, money, human capital, andmaterial (Butler, 2001; Rice, 1982). This line of reasoning stems from resource dependencetheory as Pfeffer and Salancik (1978: 43) have argued, “because organizations are not self-sustained or self-sufficient, the environment must be relied upon to provide support.” Pfefferand Salancik (1978) further articulated three characteristics of the environment that influenceresource dependence: 1) structural concentration of power and influence, 2) munificence, i.e.,scarcity of resources held by stakeholders, and 3) interconnectedness or the patterns ofcommunication and network linkages. While online communities such as support groups or special interest groups requireresources such as members willing to spend time and energy sharing their experiences and   6
  7. 7. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  knowledge with one another, private-collective communities may require a more complex setof resources. As noted above, private-collective communities are increasingly being discussedas an alternative to the firm-based model for knowledge and value creation. Thus, we wouldexpect that similar to a firm, a private-collective community would need continuous access to aset of tangible and intangible resources such as raw materials, financial resources, equipmentand fixed assets, technologies, human capital, and social capital to ensure its sustainability.While previous research has touched on this issue (e.g., Bergquist & Ljungberg, 2001;O’Mahony & Ferraro 2007), research has not yet focused on investigating the resourcesrequired for the sustainability of a private-collective community from a stakeholder andresource dependency perspective. This leads us to our first research question: RQ1: What arethe resources necessary to sustain a private-collective community? Similar to firms or other organizations, private-collective community members haveinterests in and are active to varying degrees in the community’s activities and as such canaffect or are affected by the achievement of the community’s objectives through theirwillingness to contribute unique and valuable resources. Organizational researchers define suchactors as “stakeholders” (Freeman, 1984: 46). The concept of stakeholders has becomeembedded in management scholarship (Mitchell et al., 1997) as an approach to help managersunderstand how they could better manage the firm’s various investors, employees, andinterested parties. What is noteworthy is that the term is not synonymous with individuals butalso refers to groups or organizations that have an interest in the outcome of an organization’swork processes. In other words, the stakeholder approach is about “groups and individuals whocan affect the organization” (Ramirez, 1999: 102). From a resource dependence view, the firmis dependent on environmental actors, i.e., stakeholders, for resources; however, it is thisdependence that gives those actors leverage over a firm (Frooman, 1999). As Pfeffer andSalancik (1978) note, resources come with contingent environment considerations that may   7
  8. 8. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  influence the direction of the community as well as its sustainability. If a specific subset of thecommunity (e.g., a group of individuals or organizations with a shared attribute or affiliation)maintains specific control over key resources, it can significantly influence the productivity ofthe collective – thereby shaping the direction of the community. Thus, the basic principle ofstakeholder management is to understand who the stakeholders are and how they can bemanaged strategically such that the organization can achieve its interests (Freeman 1984). Inrecent years, stakeholder theory has been extended by researchers and practitioners alikebeyond that of firms to organizations in general, such as NGOs within the area of naturalresource management (Ramirez, 1999). Clearly a private-collective community is not a firm,which tends to be the focus of a stakeholder approach, yet these communities are organized asnetworks dependent upon the resource contributions of their diverse individual andorganizational members, i.e., stakeholders. Additionally, the traditional form of organizing economic value creation ischaracterized by a structured hierarchical form of governance that remains static over time withdifferent personnel assuming pre-defined roles of decision-making authority. In contrast,collectives (as seen in the OSS environment) are characterized by an organic form ofgovernance that emerges through the fluid social relationships and contributions over time.When combined, the private-collective community tends to demonstrate an emergentgoverning structure, with some formal governing structures and processes, e.g., the OSSDebian community (O’Mahony & Ferraro, 2007), to manage the interests of their variousstakeholders. To date, research has identified two larger groups of stakeholders in private-collectivecommunities: individuals participating on their own behalf and firms whose employeesparticipate in the community on behalf of the firm (e.g., Dahlander & Wallin, 2006). On theone hand, there are individuals who volunteer their free time or are self-employed, and their   8
  9. 9. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  motivations have been categorized based on self-determination theory (SDT) (e.g., Deci &Ryan, 1985; Gagné & Deci, 2005): intrinsic (e.g., fun, enjoyment); internalized extrinsic (e.g.,reputation, reciprocity, learning, and own-use), or extrinsic (e.g., career and pay) (for a reviewof this literature, see von Krogh et al., Forthcoming). On the other hand, these communitiesinclude individuals who participate and contribute code on behalf of their employers seeking toobtain private benefits (Lakhani & Wolf, 2005; Mehra et al 2010). Firms view communities aspotential complementary assets that can be combined with a firm’s internal resources todevelop competitive products and services (Dahlander & Wallin, 2006), yet their interests maydiverge from the community despite several convergent interests (see O’Mahony & Bechky,2008 for a review). With the exception of a few studies (e.g., O’Mahony & Ferraro, 2007), research onprivate-collective communities has primarily focused at the individual level – while notaddressing sustainability at the community level. As such, we have a poor understanding ofwho the various stakeholder groups are as well as what resources they contribute to thecommunity. This leads us to our second research question: RQ2: Who are the stakeholders ofa private-collective community and what resources do they contribute to the community? A community’s access to a pool of resources contributed by its stakeholders must thenbe transformed into benefits relevant for the community’s various interests through socialprocesses (Butler, 2001). In OSS communities, research has found that a two-tiered structure ofa core and a periphery tends to emerge that characterizes these social processes on a higherlevel (Bergquist & Ljungberg, 2001; Lee & Cole, 2003). The core developers are responsiblefor writing most of the code related to functionality, reviewing and approving code submittedby the periphery, and making most of the decisions about new releases while individuals in theperiphery add features and detect, report, and fix bugs (Bergquist & Ljungberg, 2001; Lee &Cole, 2003; Mockus et al., 2000). For example, the core group of developers in the Apache   9
  10. 10. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  case accounted for more than 80% of the contributions (Mockus et al., 2000). Individuals in thecore group are generally nominated and approved by the community in a democratic process.Contrary to bureaucratic organizations with a formal hierarchy in which individuals progress“up the company ladder” through gaining authority over more employees, individuals in opensource communities tend to “progress towards the center” initially due to their technicalcontributions and then through their ability to coordinate project tasks (Dahlander &O’Mahony, 2011). A considerable challenge, however, to the community’s ability to sustain these socialprocesses is the fact that they are not static entities. Communities are highly fluid – members,interests, and needs fluctuate over time due to the actions of others within the community aswell as personal or external events (Faraj et al., 2011). For example, the outcomes thatoriginally motivated an individual’s behavior upon entering a community are not always thesame as the outcomes subsequently generated. Some individuals may attain a high statuswithin a community and a select few may even leverage their efforts into high-paying jobs,consulting fees, or public-speaking events - rewards that generally were not among theiroriginal motivations (Shah, 2006; Author Blinded, Under Review). As such, resources ebb andflow into, within, and out of the community at a continuous and rapid pace (Faraj et al., 2011). One of the primary concerns of the stakeholder perspective using resource dependencetheory is how a focal organization gains access to the resources it needs through its ability toinfluence key stakeholders. Those stakeholders who control the resources needed by theorganization are argued to accrue power, thus creating imbalances among the parties (Mitchellet al., 1997). Initially, research focused on the dyadic relationships between the focalorganization and its stakeholders. However, recent research suggests that it is not merely therelationship between the focal organization and its stakeholders that is important to investigate.Rather the overarching network structure among all the stakeholders and the focal organization   10
  11. 11. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  should be investigated since an organization’s stakeholders are likely to have directrelationships with each other in addition to the focal organization (Rowley, 1997). In essence,it is the concentration of power as well as the structure of the network within which astakeholder resides that determines both the ability for the stakeholder to achieve a return on itsinvestment and the community to sustain itself over time (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). This approach builds on the social network perspective, which is primarily concernedwith the interdependence of actors and how their positions in the network influence theiropportunities, constraints, and behaviors (Wasserman & Galaskiewicz, 1994). “Instead ofanalyzing individual behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs, social network analysis focuses itsattention on how these interactions constitute a framework or structure that can be studied andanalyzed in its own right” (Galaskiewicz & Wasserman, 1994: xii). One benefit of a socialnetwork perspective is that it enables the investigation of the multiple and interdependentinteractions that exist within the stakeholder environments (Rowley, 1997). Examiningstructural characteristics of the overarching stakeholder network can provide insight into theorganization’s ability to influence stakeholders in its quest to gain access to necessaryresources. While some studies examining private-collectives do apply social network analysis(e.g., Dahlander & Wallin, 2006; Dahlander & Frederiksen, 2011), these tend to be at theindividual level and do not take a stakeholder perspective to investigate how the variousstakeholder groups embed themselves within the network. This leads to our third and finalresearch question: RQ3: What characterizes the structure among the different stakeholders ofa private-collective community? In summary, research on private-collective communities has clearly identified thebenefits of firms engaging with collectives for private benefits. However, a complex set ofresources, actors, and social structure must develop and evolve based on emergent conditionsin order to remain sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders. Using a well-established   11
  12. 12. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  private-collective community based on virtual worlds, we investigate our three researchquestions to identify potential factors influencing private-collective community sustainability. RESEARCH SITEThe OpenSimulator project (http://opensimulator.org) is an online virtual world communitythat brings together organizations and individuals and as such represents a private-collectivecommunity. We chose to use the OpenSimulator community as a focal community for ourresearch for a number of reasons: 1) continuous activity since its foundation in 2007 thusindicating it has been sustainable to date, 2) a private-collective community with well-established firms participating (e.g., IBM and Intel), 3) diverse membership in terms ofdemographics (e.g., age, educational and professional background, nationality, geographicallocation), 4) exhibiting a number of characteristics raised in the literature on private-collectivecommunities that can accentuate the development of conflict, e.g., anonymity, intellectualproperty, and 5) existing within a highly uncertain external environment due to the relativeimmaturity of the 3D internet industry that can then impact the supply of resources to thecommunity. OpenSimulator is an open source multi-platform, multi-user 3D application serveroperating under the Berkeley Software Distribution license that enables individuals and firmsacross the globe to customize their virtual worlds based on their technology and usepreferences. The project is powered by the efforts of the community members, who devotetheir time and energy to the development processes. From its inception in 2007 to December2011, 101 developers have committed 16,056 submissions to the OpenSimulator projectresulting in 338,467 lines of code and an estimated cost (based on the COCOMO model) of$4.99 million dollars (USD). The project has a global reach, crossing 22 time zones, and thecommunity hosts a diverse group of members. The OpenSimulator project has a 3D aspect thatfacilitates a strong sense of immersion for both its developers and users, setting the project   12
  13. 13. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  apart from traditional open source projects. Since the project develops around such a strongcommunication medium, there are many contributing to and using OpenSimulator, who arevery passionate about virtual environments and its power as a platform for social exchange. There are many ways to participate in and contribute to the OpenSimulator project: viaIRC (Internet Relay Chat), mailing lists, the Twitter hashtag (#OpenSim), and theOpenSimulator Wiki as well as through individual members’ websites or blogs. Another wayto participate is to create an OpenSimulator-related project hosted on SourceForge(http://forge.opensimulator.org/gf/) or elsewhere. With regard to the mailing lists, thecommunity members can participate based on two generic roles. First, members who are usersof the OpenSimulator platform can join the Users mailing list that can be used to posequestions on usage, report bugs, and engage in conversation with likeminded individualsinterested in utilizing OpenSimulator either personally or professionally. Second, memberswho are developers can participate in the Developers mailing list that discusses technical issues,project updates, news announcements concerning modules and company actions as well associal communication to embody a sense of community among the developers that is separatefrom the users. In many open source projects users are the developers of the project itself. ForOpenSimulator, however, there is a clearer distinction between users and developers. Mostnoticeably, the developer to user ratio is relatively low in OpenSimulator compared to otheropen source projects. This is due to the fact that the potential users of the project are alreadydeveloped by Linden Lab (through their use of Second Life); therefore, from the start theyhave a good understanding of how to use OpenSimulator and what to expect from it. In general,users can start using OpenSimulator without necessarily having to expend a lot of developmenteffort. METHODOLOGYSeveral data collection approaches were used to gather data on the OpenSimulator community.   13
  14. 14. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  First, we conducted 10 unstructured and then 10 semi-structured interviews with members ofthe OpenSimulator Community. These interviews were all conducted virtually through thevirtual world of Second Life or OpenSimulator (figure 1) or via Skype. Using the snowballingtechnique, we conducted interviews with core developers and members of the OpenSimulatorecosystem while asking each interviewee to identify additional individuals to interview.Questions concerning the roles, resources, and motivations for contributing to the communitywere included in the interview questionnaire to ensure a rubric to assess motivation andresource contributions in further analysis. FIGURE 1 Conducng)an)interview) Conducting an Interview through OpenSimulator In addition, we scraped the relevant online sites (e.g., OpenSimulator wiki, Ohlohcommit website, SourceForge site, and social networking sites) and mailing lists for textualanalysis and relational tie data for the first four years and three months of the community- fromthe emergence of the community in August 2007 to the end of October 2011. We divided thedata into two periods: 1) August 2007 to September 2009 and 2) October 2009 to October 2011.Not only did this division represent relatively equal periods, but it also was in line with twoaspects relevant to our analysis: 1) an internal change in which the code reached a relativelystable development level at the end of September 2009 and 2) an external change in whichmuch of the hype and interest surrounding virtual worlds had faded.   14
  15. 15. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   Combining the textual analysis with the relational tie data collected throughout the fouryears enabled us to perform social network analyses using UCINET version 6.181 withattribute data to determine the overall network structure of the OpenSimulator community aswell as the structural positioning of different groups of stakeholders within the communityduring the two different time periods. Lastly, we validated the results of our analysis byinterviewing the most central member of the community in both time periods to determinewhether the observations made by our research team align with the historical context of thecommunity. However, as an ongoing research study, we will use the results from the socialnetwork analysis to further identify individuals to interview who may possess a uniqueperspective of the community due to his or her social interactions. This will allow additionalvalidation of the archival data and provide additional descriptive and contextual informationthat can add depth to our findings. RESULTSRQ1: What are the resources necessary to sustain a private-collective community? The strategic management literature classifies resources into 1) tangible, e.g., financialand physical, 2) intangible, e.g., technology, reputation, and 3) human, e.g., skills, commitment,loyalty (Grant 2008). Additionally, this literature describes how resources are static and that toperform a task resources must work together. Organizational capabilities are therefore definedas the capacity for a set of resources to perform a task or activity in an integrative manner(Grant 2008). Capabilities can be identified through breaking down value creation activitiesinto primary, i.e., activities directly related to producing the service or product, and supportactivities, i.e., activities that support the primary activities, (Porter, 1985) and through afunctional classification, e.g., marketing, corporate management (Grant, 2008). Through our analysis of the interviews and secondary data, we identified a range ofprimary and support resources and capabilities necessary for the sustainability of the   15
  16. 16. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  community (table 1). First, OpenSimulator is similar to other virtual IT development projectswith regard to the resources and capabilities required for the software development: resourcesnecessary to complete the work (i.e., the actual project itself) and resources to support theproject team (e.g., code repositories, communication technologies) along with expertisecapabilities to complete the work and capabilities for coordinating the work in a virtualdynamic environment (PMI, 2008). Interestingly, our analysis also revealed that OpenSimulator requires the resources andcapabilities of several other types of organizations. First, OpenSimulator in many regardsfunctions as an overarching firm within which the software development process occurs, and assuch it requires a set of primary and supporting “firm” resources, e.g., computing process,storage, copyrights, reputation, and corresponding capabilities, e.g., creating awareness of itsproducts and services, human capital development, attracting resources and talent, and businessintelligence. In many regards, OpenSimulator is competing against other open source softwareand other online communities for resources, such as the software expertise needed to fulfill itsmain objective, as well as against other virtual world platforms and service providers forpotential users and customers. Second, OpenSimulator is similar to a joint venture sincemembers come from diverse organizations with significant underlying differences in theirbehaviors, values, attitudes, motives, organizational identities, and loyalties (Lerpold, 2003).This brings with it the need for supporting resources, e.g., dialogue and conflict resolutionskills, and supporting capabilities, e.g., negotiating motives and timeframes and achievingcollective competence, i.e., the group’s ability to work together towards a common goal andthe creation of a collective outcome (Ruuska & Teigland, 2009). Finally, OpenSimulator issimilar to volunteer organizations in terms of its need for commitment and loyalty from itsmembers as well as its capability to manage external shocks and the fluidity of its resources. Our analysis thus revealed that OpenSimulator requires not only a set of primary   16
  17. 17. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  resources and capabilities to create the software, but it also requires a complex set of supportresources and capabilities to sustain itself. The question that our analysis thus raises is whatare the sources of these resources and capabilities, which supports our theoretical reasoningmotivating the second research question of our study. TABLE 1 Resources and Capabilities of the OpenSimulator Community Activity Resources Tangible Intangible Human Capabilities Primary Technology Technology System architecture skills Code development infrastructure, Copyrights Programming skills Installation e.g., servers Debugging skills Seamlessness with other Information Patching skills technologies and applications archives Implementation skills, e.g., grid Keeping pace with potentially running competitive developments Intellectual property skills Creating awareness of OpenSimulator products and services Support Financial Culture Information Complex project management Reputation management/archival skills Virtual organizing Legitimacy Communication and Human capital development collaboration in virtual Cross-cultural management environment skills Business intelligence Dialogue skills Energizing Conflict resolution skills Resolving tensions Negotiation skills Negotiating motives & timeframes Intellectual property skills Achieving collective competence Commitment Attracting resources to community Loyalty Attracting talent to community Managing external risks and shocks Managing fluidityRQ2: Who are the stakeholders of a private-collective community and what resources do theycontribute to the community? Within the stakeholder literature, there is an ongoing discussion as to how to identifystakeholders (see Mitchell et al, 1997 for a review). However, in recent years, stakeholderattributes have received increased attention (Frooman, 1999). Within the resource dependenceview, it has been proposed that stakeholders can be identified by their power to influence theorganization through the control over necessary resources both in terms of access to theresource as well as how the resource can be used (Frooman, 1999). In addition, the urgency ofthe stakeholder’s claim on the organization is to be considered (Mitchell et al., 1997).Developers of stakeholder theory have found that classifying stakeholders into usefulcategories facilitates the analysis (Rowley, 1997). It is important to note here that since the   17
  18. 18. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  OpenSimulator community is not a formal organization with organizational boundariesdistinguishing external stakeholders from the organization. Consequently, we treat allcommunity members as stakeholders given the fact that all play an integral role in the successof the community due to their ability to provide unique contributions. As noted above, private-collective communities comprise two broad groups ofstakeholders: private individuals and organizations. Our analysis suggests this was too generala categorization – particularly for the organization category. One aspect that becameparticularly apparent during the interview phase is that the individual member’s stakeholderaffiliation, e.g., Hobbyist, Entrepreneur, SME Employee, Academic, plays a role in terms ofthe resources that the member can potentially provide. For example, the large companymembers provided legitimacy that the SME Employees or entrepreneurs could not.Additionally, there appeared to be a different sense of urgency or timeframe based uponstakeholder affiliation - with the Entrepreneurs and SMEs generally having shorter timehorizons than the Large Firm Employees, Hobbyists, or Academics in terms of seeingdevelopments realized. Finally, we noticed that the issue of intellectual property also played arole in terms of resource contribution, e.g., with the Hobbyists contributing more freely thanthe Entrepreneurs and Large Firm Employees, who in turn contributed more freely than theSME Employees. While there may be other ways to identify and classify stakeholders, we decided toproceed with a stakeholder categorization based on an individual member’s organizationalaffiliation. We investigated the OpenSimulator wiki and developer mailing list to identify theorganizational affiliations of individuals by checking these affiliations based on publiclyavailable information during the two different periods found on 1) signature messages inelectronic communications, 2) postings and profiles on social networking sites, e.g., LinkedIn,Twitter, facebook, 3) postings and profiles on other mailing lists and online communities, e.g.,   18
  19. 19. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  SourceForge, Ohloh, 4) official company websites and blogs, and 5) private websites and blogs.Through this process, we identified the following organizational affiliations: 1) Academic –employed at a university, 2) Entrepreneur – self-employed or founder of a firm selling servicesor products related to OpenSimulator and the 3D internet, 3) Hobbyist – participating inOpenSimulator on own free time due to personal interests, 4) Large Firm Employee (> 250employees) 1, 5) Non-profit Employee, 6) Local or Regional Public Sector Employee, 7)Federal Public Sector Employee, 8) Research Institute Employee, and 9) SME1 Employee(<250 employees). For the individuals who were employees in groups 4 to 8, these individualswere participating within OpenSimulator due to their responsibilities assigned by theiremployer. While this may be considered a fine-grained categorization, we chose to maintainthis view of stakeholder categories so as not to confound any findings by grouping togetherdifferent organizations. Two researchers conducted this stakeholder coding independently and crosscheckedeach other’s work. This coding procedure was considerably tedious as we investigated theinformation posted by each individual across various public sites and across the two differenttime periods of our study. However, we were surprised at how much information was publiclyavailable and at how consistent the information was for an individual across sites. For example,in only 4% of the individuals during period one was there a discrepancy between what peoplewrote on the various internet sites. In these cases, we chose to use the stakeholder category thathe/she identified on the OpenSimulator wiki as this was the category under which they chose torepresent themselves to the community. Finally, we were also somewhat surprised at how littlevariation there was in terms of individuals changing their stakeholder category. While severalindividuals changed jobs during the entire four year period, few actually changed stakeholdercategory.                                                                                                                1 The official EU definition of an SME is < 250 employees.   19
  20. 20. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   With the various stakeholder groups identified, we proceeded to identify what resourcesand capabilities each group brought to the OpenSimulator community. One of the mostimportant resources contributed to the community is the development of the underlying sourcecode of the OpenSimulator platform. On Ohloh, a public directory of open source software,there were 319,849 lines of code in the project as of September 2009 and 337,458 lines of codeas of October 2011. The project has an Active Core Developers group, which fluctuated around20 developers during the first period and 12 developers during the second period. Theseindividuals contributed the most to the code repository and were responsible for decidingwhich developers to invite to join the Active Core group. To be invited to join the coredevelopers group, an OpenSimulator member must demonstrate skills in producing interestingand useful code within the very large main code base, handling some degree of pressuregracefully, and functioning within the multi-faceted spirit of the project. The project alsodistinguishes between developers who are active and those who are not within the community.Core developers who do not contribute to the code for six or more months have their statuschanged to "Following the white rabbit". However, if a developer starts contributing to thecode again, he/she is moved back into active status. These “white rabbit followers” can also bemoved to a permanently disengaged status at their request, and as such they lose their access tothe OpenSimulator repository server. Our investigation revealed that a core principle of the OpenSimulator community is thatsimple and naive solutions are appreciated as developers aim to make the code as simple,structured, and readable for newcomers as possible. Introducing new technologies that wouldincrease thresholds for installing and using the code in different environments are discouragedin order to facilitate maximum compatibility. The OpenSimulator project aims for better codereuse and prefers incremental improvements to profound rewriting. This translates into the factthat the developers try to avoid profound refactoring since it destabilizes the project and the   20
  21. 21. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  community. However, one of the benefits of OpenSimulator as is generally the case in otheropen source communities is that when there is a highly controversial decision about the kernel,developers have the right to fork the project if they do not agree with the direction thecommunity decides to take. During the four years of the project we analyzed, there were a total of 34 developerswho were at one point classified as Active Core Developers: Academics 3 (8.8%),Entrepreneurs 14 (41.2%), Hobbyists 8 (23.5%), Large Firm Employees 5 (14.7 %), and SMEEmployees 4 (11.8%). However, Ohloh identified that there were 87 committers during thesame four years. Of these 5 (5.7%) were Academics, 25 (28.7%) Entrepreneurs, 21 (24.1%)Hobbyists, 9 10.3%) Large Firm Employees, 6 (6.9%) SME Employees, and 21 (24.1%) werenot identifiable due to lack of information provided by the committer. An analysis of these 21who were not identifiable revealed that they were minor contributors since during the entireperiod all had 15 or fewer commits and on average had only five commits. Among those whowere identifiable, there were no Non-profit, Public Sector, or Research Institute individualscontributing code. Table 2 provides an overview of the stakeholder affiliation of the ActiveCore Developers at the end of each period as well as the top 20 Ohloh committers during eachperiod. On the Ohloh site, committers are also relatively ranked on a scale of 1-10 (10 highestrank). An Ohloh community member can assign “Kudos” to any other member contributorbased on his/her appreciation or respect for the contributor as well as take these Kudos back ifhe/she so desires. Of the ten individuals who received the highest ranking of “9” kudos duringthe four year period, five were Entrepreneurs, two were Hobbyists, two were Large FirmEmployees, and one was an Academic, This analysis reveals a clear dominance of Entrepreneurs both in quantity and quality ofcode development, indicating the importance of this stakeholder group’s resource contribution   21
  22. 22. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  to the community. Hobbyists were relatively less active; however, over time they represented alarger portion of the commits to the OpenSimulator project growing from 10% to 30% of thetop 20 committers during the two time periods. Large Firm Employees were somewhat moreactive than Academics, with Large Firm Employees growing somewhat in importance fromperiod one to two. SME Employees displayed a similar pattern to Hobbyists during the firstperiod but completely ceased their activity during the second period. Finally, there were nocontributions from the other categories of Non-profit, Local Public Sector, Federal PublicSector, or Research Institute during either period. TABLE 2 Overview of OpenSimulator Developers on Wiki and Ohloh August 2007 - September 2009 October 2009 – October 2011 Active Core Ohloh Top 20 Active Core Ohloh Top 20 Stakeholder Developers Committers Developers Committers Affiliation # Inds % Total # Inds % Total # Inds % Total # Inds % Total 1-Academic 2 10% 2 10% 1 8% 1 5% 2-Entrepreneur 8 40% 11 55% 7 58% 9 45% 3–Hobbyist 4 20% 2 10% 2 17% 6 30% 4-Large Firm 3 15% 3 15% 2 17% 4 20% 5–Non-profit 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 6-Local Public 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 7–Federal Public 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 8-Research Inst 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 9-SME 3 15% 2 10% 0 0% 0 0% Total 20 100% 20 100% 12 100% 20 100% Additionally, there are a considerable amount of community members who contributebug reports, patches, testing, and maintenance work to the OpenSimulator project, who listedthemselves on the OpenSimulator Wiki. In the first period, there were 64 people, of which wecoded 62 with an organizational affiliation: Academics 4 (6.5%), Entrepreneurs 21 (34%),Hobbyists 23 (37%), Large Firm Employees 11 (18%), Federal Public Sector 1 (1.5%), andSME Employees 2 (3%). In the second period, there were 84 people, of which we coded 81with an organizational affiliation: Academics 7 (9%), Entrepreneurs 25 (31%), Hobbyists 31(38%), Large Firm Employees 13 (16%), Federal Public Sector 2 (2%), and SME Employees 3(4%). In both periods, we found a slightly higher number of Hobbyists than Entrepreneurs   22
  23. 23. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  with a larger relative increase of Hobbyists in period two. Academics also increased theirparticipation noticeably from period one to two. A second important resource to the community is the developer mailing list, whichserves as both a forum for collaboration as well as an information archive. During the firstperiod, there was a total of 7654 messages posted by 251 unique individuals with an average of30.5 messages per individual and during the second period 2942 messages posted by 229unique individuals with an average of 12.8 messages per person. We coded each individualwho had made more than four posts during either of these time periods with his/her stakeholderaffiliation – a total of 138 individuals in period one and 101 individuals in period two. Aninvestigation of the content of the messages made by people posting four or fewer posts duringboth these periods revealed that the majority of questions or posts were either spam orquestions or messages that were not relevant to the community and thus received no response.Thus, we chose this cutoff as we did not consider those making four or fewer posts during atwo-year time period to be contributing to the community. The resulting number of messagesin period one was 7424 posted by 138 individuals - 54 messages per person, and in period two2696 posted by 101 individuals in period two - 27 messages per person. Of note is that during the first period, 119 individuals (86%) of the 138 actively postingindividuals were easily tied to their real life identity while only 19 individuals (14%) actedanonymously in terms of being able to code them with a “real life” identity. However, wecould code 14 (10%) of these 19 individuals with a stakeholder affiliation since they had well-established online identities such as in the virtual world of Second Life or through their ownwebsites, blogs, etc. Several of these even acted as avapreneurs, i.e., entrepreneurs sellingvirtual goods or services through their avatars (Teigland, 2010). Thus, only five (3.6%) actedtruly anonymously, and we coded these as Hobbyists since there was no evidence either onlineor in their postings to the mailing list that they were affiliated with any kind of organization or   23
  24. 24. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  had entrepreneurial interests. In the second period, 82 individuals (81%) of the 101 individualsactively posting were easily tied to their real life identities, eight (8%) had well-establishedonline identities, and the remaining. 11 individuals (11%) acted truly anonymously and thuswere coded as Hobbyists. In terms of demographic attributes, the majority of the identifiable individuals wereworking age males with a technical background from the Northwestern hemisphere, e.g.,Europe and North America, and who were capable of communicating in English. However,there were several members from countries such as Japan, Australia, and Malaysia, thus thecommunity was spread across 22 time zones. An extra note is that the Active Core Developergroup comprised individuals spread across 18 time zones. Tables 3a and 3b contain descriptivestatistics for participation among the various stakeholder groups during each of the two timeperiods. TABLE 3a OpenSimulator Mailing List Contributors – Period One Org. Affil. # Individuals % Total # Messages % Total #Msg/Ind Academic 12 8.7 857 11.5 71 Entrepreneur 47 34.1 3386 45.6 72 Hobbyist 39 28.3 1396 18.8 36 Large Firm 18 13.0 1191 16.0 66 Non-profit 3 2.2 60 0.8 20 Local Public 2 1.4 29 0.4 15 Federal Public 1 0.7 21 0.3 21 Research Inst 1 0.7 25 0.3 25 SME 15 10.9 459 6.2 31 Total 138 100% 7424 100% 54 TABLE 3b OpenSimulator Mailing List Contributors – Period Two Org. Affil. # Individuals % Total # Messages % Total #Msg/Ind Academic 14 13.9 594 22.0 42 Entrepreneur 39 38.6 1376 51.0 35 Hobbyist 30 29.7 437 16.2 15 Large Firm 11 10.9 177 6.6 16 Non-profit 2 2.0 29 1.1 15 Local Public 1 1.0 14 0.5 14 Federal Public 1 1.0 14 0.5 14 Research Inst 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 SME 3 3.0 55 2.0 18 Total 101 100% 2696 100% 27   24
  25. 25. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   We find a pattern here similar to the above analysis. The Entrepreneurs dominate interms of resource contribution with 34% in period one and 39% in period two of the totalmailing list population and with 46% and 51% of the total body of messages, thus giving thema relatively high message-to-individual ratio (72 and 35). The second largest group ofindividual members, Hobbyists (28% and 30%), generally has a considerably lower message toindividual ratio (36 and 15) while Academics (71 and 42) or Large Firm Employees (66 and16). Moreover, SME Employees, while just slightly under in number compared to Large FirmEmployees during period one, decreased significantly during period two and have aconsiderably lower message to individual ratio (31 and 18). The remaining Non-profit, PublicSector, and Research Institute individuals participated the least in both absolute and relativeterms with a message-to-individual ratio between 15 and 25 in period one and between 0 and15 in period two. Noticeable in the comparison across time periods is the universal decrease inthe message per individual ratio across all stakeholder groups indicating that the time periodaround October 2009 was a key period where a dramatic shift in the community occurred. To analyze the content of the messages posted to the mailing list, we conducted a wordburst analysis of the content of the messages posted during the two time periods (tables 4a and4b). A word burst analysis identifies the words that are most characteristic of a certain personor group (Kleinberg, 2004). Thus, it does not show absolute frequency but instead identifiesthe words that are most overrepresented in a sample or portion of a text compared to the entiretext using the "probabilistic generative model", i.e., more characteristic words rank morehighly than less characteristic words of a person or group compared to the group as a whole. Acomparison of the word burst method with other methods shows that the burst methodproduces results that are more refined compared to cruder measures provided by the methodsin the comparison group (Kleinberg, 2004). We generated a word burst for each stakeholderaffiliation group, which identified the words that were most overrepresented in the messages   25
  26. 26. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  posted by the respective group compared to the sum of all messages by all groups during eachtime period. For example, while Academics use the word “user” more frequently in absoluteterms than “inventory”, compared to the average, Academics use “inventory” more often than“user”. This analysis gives an indication of the type of issues each stakeholder group isdiscussing and can be seen as an indication of the type of resource that it is contributing to thecommunity. TABLE 4a 30 Most Characteristic Words per Stakeholder Affiliation – Period One Academics Entrepreneur Hobbyist Large Firm Non-profit Local Public Federal Public Res Inst. SME inventory state debug availabletype hints stolen currency behaviour portability user join osg processing help centos money geometry openid really obscures saving file tested ceo risk states metadata servers night succeeded worlds internal info losing vehicle asset think pages osgrid users similar screen chatrooms phantom userserver server scene shape mathematics correctly sue commerce integer inventoryserver millions region guest center bitsystem free inworld unit regionserver region believe functions tree sanded sued owner physics script addresses physics guests wrote people terminal legal state goods different prerouting grid next understood ward due appenders classinventoryserver core value approach router loss educational patch executed modules currency build computer map svn solutions everybody assets grid incoming sims rest regions override core body assetbase agent revision project attachments viewer release monetary collision inform service opencurrency allow asset computer viewing argument prim cable hypergrid separate regions respond host wrote implementation options compiler search model assets corp. precious having corruption geometries plugins registry propose fatal math programmers urge devolve independant packet set sounds notions types scripts readable essential zone scriptengine scenes local logins printing locally confirm. opencurrency logging lock people joint total machines next current/trunk scope initialrotation service register application running utilization instances supportinformation immature printstatus private services assigned plazas dissemination priorities widows plans vehicles lively session points vehicle prohibited sim file claims hidden neighbours system tag cba privileged configured immediate software shapes tests push memory mono separate software copy case cultures hack cap prim perhaps review part flavored samplemoney initialposition touch happy think patches emulator holding lends external globally return regions defaults copyright pervasive website wished dollars flag servicebase security objects tester vector height bandwidth functions initialization creationdate During the first period, we found that Academics focus on the development of theunderlying platform and technology infrastructure as the words they use are inventory, servers,regions, modules, etc. The focus for the Entrepreneurs tends to be more on the development ofthe actual use of the OpenSimulator virtual world, e.g., night, scene, region, physics, currency.The Hobbyists are concerned with testing and debugging the software, e.g., debug, functions,fatal, patches, etc. For the employees, Large Firm Employees seem to be interested in data   26
  27. 27. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   processing and visualization while the SME Employees are focused on programming since their words are very programming oriented. The Non-profits have issues related to installation and the use of OpenSimulator while both the Public Sector categories discuss legal and financial issues. TABLE 4b 30 Most Characteristic Words per Stakeholder Affiliation – Period TwoAcademics Entrepreneur Hobbyist Large Firm Non-profit Local Public Federal Public Res Inst. SME hg we bulletsim updates education research testclient behaviour admin wifi state wiki sciencesim socket sl bot geometry item master established pm trust exception project gridclient engine megaregions info join documents testclient initiative beneficial appearance states prims scholar never bots queue forums educational avatar vehicle viewer robust night part adaptive failed hud minutes phantom megarion timeout pages testclient voice endpoint failed skull integer treesregionstore scene next dsg debug comfortable enable unit add freeswitch region kins pronounced respond boxed using physics linkedin university believe wise bots request declined lot state scalable version obsolete outfit viewer trace sciland answer appenders names line physics documentation simian string stupid problem patch inventory connector core authority appearance inner colleges grey collision root lgpl modules install packet element develops megaregion prim robot migration currency users retransmit next maliciousintent position application/ms sequence offline incoming gravity distance connection medicine simulation options mobilephone note revision olg packets part newbies opensim api file resource opencurrency newest priority boolean phenom runned geometries coordinates branch separate framework algorithm receiving reassuring help zone pinkutus updating model backup iteration period operator object logging prisonplanet tiles propose flotsam lgpl unable perspective apperance vehicles next tracking fields varies infinity portales team stored shapes grasspublications definitively years gpl timeout endlessly assess cultures services simian local use network int grid/standalone retrieve initialposition part notes joint display discuss unity speculations disturbing globally archive userstore application personal bandwidth getfolder luck inherited flag regioninfo map forge genuine linden stack moving independant initialization sensor handlers assigned physical graph thanks settings actually settings noticed licence points kin queuing attempt projectand manipulating logger following sciences guess patent city sending repeatable figures testavatar opensimbase During the second period, we found that Academics shifted focus slightly to the research of virtual worlds and their application to the university environment by using such words as scholar, publications, Simian, and university, version, info, etc. The focus for the Entrepreneurs remains relatively stable with a more pronounced tendency towards the monetization of the OpenSimulator virtual world, e.g., opencurrency, currency, and application development, e.g., modules, fields, revision. The Hobbyists also seemed to have shifted slightly with more interest in software use, e.g., documentation, wiki, install, display, backup, etc. For the employees, Large Firm Employees continue to maintain interest in the technical   27
  28. 28. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  infrastructure and application of virtual worlds in specific areas, e.g., network, packets,sciencesim, scisim, etc., while SMEs focused almost exclusively on application development.The Non-profits have shifted towards understanding the more technical aspects ofOpenSimulator while the Public Sector stakeholders are focused on the use and application ofvirtual worlds. Another resource that has been highly noted in the literature and that we confirmed inRQ1 is passion of individuals, or devoted enthusiasm for the community’s goals, within thecommunity (Faraj et al., 2011). To identify those who demonstrated passion, we conducted adegree centrality analysis of the mailing list postings. We chose degree centrality because itconsiders the absolute number of times people posted compared to others. Entrepreneurs leadin terms of contribution as 6-7 of the top 10 and the top two most central individuals wereEntrepreneurs in both periods. Of note is that these top 10 individuals were also among thehighest in quantity and quality committers noted above and nine were Active Core Developersin the first period and six were Active Core Developers in the second period. We then took a first step at mapping our findings onto the table in terms of whichstakeholder affiliation groups are involved in contributing which resources to OpenSimulatorin order to begin to understand their influence as stakeholders within the OpenSimulatorcommunity. At this point, we cannot complete the resource and capability table (table 5);however, this table will be used to guide our research as we proceed with investigating thesustainability of the OpenSimulator community. We have inserted an X in the box where wehave found support for this stakeholder affiliation group to be the dominant resourcecontributor, i.e., other stakeholder affiliation groups may be contributing as well, throughoutthe two time periods. One observation from our analysis is that the valuable intangible resources and supporthuman resources and capabilities are not easily connected to originating from one stakeholder   28
  29. 29. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  group. Rather, these resources and capabilities are developed within the community througheveryday interactions between the diverse individuals comprising the community and inparticular within the Active Core Developer Group. One means to better understand theseinteractions is through a social network investigation of the structure of the relationships,which we turn to in the next section. TABLE 5 Initial Overview of OpenSimulator Resource and Capability Contribution Acad Entrep Hobby LrgFi NonP FedPub LocPub ResIn SME Primary Tangible Resources Technology infrastructure, eg servers X X Information archives X Primary Intangible Resources Technology Copyrights Primary Human Resources System architecture skills Programming skills X Debugging skills X Patching skills X Implementation skills, e.g., grid running X Intellectual property skills Primary Capabilities Code development X Installation X Seamlessness w other technologies & applications X Keeping pace with potentially competitive X technology developments Creating awareness of OpenSimulator X products/services Support Tangible Resources Financial Support Intangible Resources Culture Reputation X Legitimacy X Support Human Resources Information management/archival skills Communication and collaboration in virtual envts Dialogue skills Conflict resolution skills Negotiation skills Intellectual property right skills Commitment Loyalty Support Capabilities Complex project management Virtual organizing Cross-cultural management Human capital development Business intelligence Energizing X Resolving tensions Negotiating motivations & timeframes Achieving collective competence Managing fluidity Attracting resources to community Attracting talent to the community Managing external risks and shocks   29
  30. 30. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  RQ3: What characterizes the structure among the different stakeholders of a private-collectivecommunity? To investigate our final question, we turned to social network analyses using theOpenSimulator Developers mailing list. The interactions taking place on this mailing listrepresent the day-to-day interactions that Freeman (2005) refers to as one of the threestakeholder relationship levels to be investigated; the other two being the organization as awhole and the organization’s processes or standard operating procedures. Our first analysis wasto generate the overarching network graphs based on an individual’s replies to others in thecommunity. We included the entire population of both senders and receivers on the mailinglist for the two time periods. Figures 2 and 3 provide four snapshots of the network for the twotime periods: Figures 2a and 3a include all ties, Figures 2b and 3b include those who have tieswith at least two others, Figures 2c and 3c include those who have ties with at least three others,and Figures 2d and 3d include only those who have ties with 10 or more people. Figure 2a is a highly connected component with a dense core and loosely connectedperiphery. What becomes evident in the first period is that the inner core is composed primarilyof Entrepreneurs and Large Firms, with the Large Firms clustering more on the left hand sideand the Entrepreneurs more on the right hand side of the core. Moving out from the core thereseems to be a pattern of rings based on stakeholder affiliation: first Large Firm Employees,then SME Employees, then Hobbyists, and then the Periphery, i.e., those who sent four orfewer messages during either of the two time periods. The Academics seem to be sprinkledthroughout. When reducing the network between Figures 2b and 2c, the Periphery becomesdisconnected. These individuals were not active community contributors, i.e., responding toother community members’ posts, so even if they did post messages or pose questions to thecommunity, the community did not respond to them. Figure 2d further reveals that there is atightly knit core group driving the network during the first period.   30
  31. 31. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   FIGURE 2 a-d Network Structure of OpenSimulator Developer Mailing List – Period One Turning to the second period, we find quite a different pattern. First, the network itselfis much sparser than the previous time period. Overall interaction among individuals decreasesparticularly within the core of the network (comparing Figure 3a to 3d). Figure 3ademonstrates that the core of the network is primarily composed of Entrepreneurs, Hobbyists,and Academics versus the previous time period. Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists remaingenerally dispersed across the entire network (similar to period one) while Academics disperseacross the lower left side and center of the network. Large Firms have shifted towards theperiphery of the network in period two indicating that Large Firms have decreased theirparticipation and moved more towards maintaining an awareness of the developments of theOpenSimulator community versus direct involvement in its direction. In fact, Large Firmsappear to cluster more towards the lower left side of the network suggesting interest in specificsubsets of the community versus the entire community (e.g., focused attention on virtualization   31
  32. 32. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  in virtual worlds versus the overall virtual world community). Also, Academics and Hobbyistshave taken a progressively more central role within the community serving as connectorsbetween several Entrepreneurs and Large Firms. The few remaining SME Employees are alsomore clustered around the lower right side of the network away from the Large Firms, possiblyindicating a strategic shift for SMEs away from competing directly against Large Firms. Theremaining stakeholder groups appear in pockets of the network; however, they are dispersedwith no discernible pattern. FIGURE 3 a-d Overall Structure of OpenSimulator Developer Mailing List – Period Two A further investigation revealed that member degree and eigenvector centrality arecharacterized by a long-tail, further confirming our above analyses of an active core. Weconducted an eigenvector centrality test since this measures the influence of a node in anetwork through assigning relative scores to all nodes in the network based on the concept thatconnections to high-scoring nodes contribute more to the score of the node in question than   32
  33. 33. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  equal connections to low-scoring nodes. These tests revealed again the high influence ofEntrepreneurs throughout both time periods (table 6). Noticeable when comparing across timeperiods is the sudden decrease in the diversity of the most central community members fromEntrepreneurs, Academics, Large Firms, and Hobbyists in period one to Entrepreneurs,Academics, and Hobbyists only with Entrepreneurs remaining the most influential and largeststakeholder group of the most central community members. To fill the void created by theturnover of the Large Firm Employees, Academics and Hobbyists became more active. Thissuggests a key structural pattern for sustaining the community is the participation of multiplestakeholders with one dominant stakeholder group (e.g., Entrepreneurs) driving the bulk of thecommunity activity. TABLE 6 Centrality of Top 10 Community Members Period One Period Two Aug 2007- Sept 2009 Oct 2009 – Oct 2011 # Eigen Degree Eigen Degree 1 Entrep Entrep Entrep Entrep 2 Entrep Entrep Entrep Entrep 3 Entrep Entrep Acad Acad 4 Entrep Entrep Entrep Entrep 5 Acad Acad Entrep Hobby 6 Large Large Entrep Entrep 7 Large Large Hobby Entrep 8 Entrep Entrep Entrep Hobby 9 Hobby Hobby Hobby Entrep 10 Entrep Entrep Acad Acad 10 Hobby Hobby Entrep Entrep Additionally, we examined whether a clustering effect occurred within the communitybased on stakeholder affiliation. A hierarchical cluster analysis revealed a low degree ofdiverse clustering in both periods. At times issues would be discussed by only two (and in alow number of cases three) people, indicating that the community is characterized by a highdegree of interaction between all members regardless of affiliation. Looking at the fluidity of the members from period one to period two (figure 4), wefind a distinct pattern in which active members during both periods (red nodes) cluster together   33
  34. 34. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  while new members in period two (blue nodes) cluster together. Interestingly, the newmembers cluster around one central person who was active in both periods (red node in thelower right side) suggesting that this individual plays an ambassador role to bridge the “oldguard” of the community to the rising new members. Interestingly, this node is located awayfrom Large Firms and closer to Hobbyists and Entrepreneurs, which may influence the futureshape of the core of the network as these newcomers will have more direct contact with keymembers of the community. Also, the clear separation of active individuals in both periodsand newcomers active in period two suggests that the virtual world community may beentering a maturity phase where the foundation issues for developing and maintaining a virtualworld (e.g., processor configuration, hosting) have been resolved and the new members arefocused on application and use. Thus, a potential differentiating point between server-sidedevelopers and client-side developers may be emerging which would make the individuals thatconnect these two groups increasingly important to sustaining the community and protecting itfrom forking. FIGURE 4 Member Turnover from Period One to Period Two   34
  35. 35. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   In terms of member turnover by stakeholder affiliation (table 7), we find an overall netdecrease in member participation over time with only three groups slightly increasing.Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists, the largest two membership groups both lose a large share ofmembers but also receive a new influx of members resulting in moderate decreases overallsuggesting a healthy turnover of membership may be needed in these groups to sustain thecommunity, i.e., new ideas and skillsets entering the community through turnover. TABLE 7 Member Turnover by Stakeholder Affiliation Stakeholder Affiliation Member Loss Member Gain Net Change Academic 4 8 4 Entrepreneur 22 17 -5 Hobbyist 21 20 -1 Large Firm 7 0 -7 Non-profit 0 1 1 Local Public 2 1 -1 Federal Public 0 1 1 Research Inst 1 0 -1 SME 7 1 -6 Periphery 91 83 -8 Total 154 132 -22 Finally, based on Rowley’s discussion (1997) related to the overarching networkstructure of stakeholder relations, we collapsed the node graphs based on stakeholder affiliationfor both time periods (figures 5a and 5b). Since OpenSimulator is not an official organizationwith a focal organization, we ran two analyses: 1) we collapsed all individual nodes into onenode based on his/her stakeholder affiliation, and 2) we separated out the Active CoreDevelopers at the end of each period and collapsed these to make a focal organization and thencollapsed the remaining nodes based on stakeholder affiliation.   35
  36. 36. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis   FIGURE 5a Collapsed Node Structure: Left without Core and Right with Core – Period One FIGURE 5b Collapsed Node Structure: Left without Core and Right with Core – Period Two Both pictures indicate that there is a high degree of density in the overarching structurewith the stakeholder affiliation groups highly connected with one another. Not surprisingly, theEntrepreneurs are the most central in the left figure for both periods one and two whileAcademics become more central in period two. However, what is interesting in the right figureis the centrality of the Hobbyists in the community. As noted in the figures above looking atthe network at the individual level, we found that while they were not so central, Hobbyists arewell distributed around the network and interacting with a relatively more diverse set of others.This suggests that each group sustains the community through role specification.Entrepreneurs and, more recently, Academics assume the role of acting as central points of   36
  37. 37. Setting the Stage – Teigland, Di Gangi, & Yetis  contact that direct the actions of the community (through code contributions and influencingthe network through maintaining strategic ties) and Hobbyists disperse throughout thecommunity making them strategically important for developing a holistic view of what work isbeing performed in the community. Large Firms remain members of the community toprovide access to key infrastructural resources, e.g., processing, storage, but maintain a looselyaffiliated connection, which allows them to tap into the community when needed, i.e.,complementary assets. DISCUSSIONThe purpose of our research is to shed some light on the overarching question: how do private-collective communities sustain themselves despite the divergent interests within thecommunity? We developed three research questions based on a stakeholder perspective toresource dependence theory with the intention of raising the level of analysis from that of theindividual, e.g., participation motivations, to the level of the community, i.e., resource andcapability needs of the community. As mentioned earlier, resource dependence theory statesthat three environmental conditions may influence a structure: 1) centralization of power andinfluence, i.e., stakeholder groups, 2) munificence, i.e., scarcity of resources held bystakeholders, and 3) connectedness or linkages among individuals, i.e., network structure,(Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). The analysis for our first research question RQ1: What are theresources necessary to sustain a private-collective community?, revealed an extensive list ofresources and capabilities not previously presented in a compiled format in the literature. Theprinciple finding was that while most primary tangible, intangible, and human resources arebrought to the community by individual members, OpenSimulator’s sustainability is dependentupon the community’s development of a complex set of support capabilities that exceed thoserequired of a virtual IT project. Turning to RQ2: Who are the stakeholders of a private-collective community and what   37

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