, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 325-350
Date: 13 Jan 2011

Empirical analysis of anticipatory standardization processes: a case study

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Abstract

The processes followed for developing anticipatory standards such as those for web services are still not well-understood. In spite of the openness of the process, there are few analyses that shed light on the roles that different participants play or the actions they engage in during the development of these standards. We analyze archival documents that capture development of SOAP, a core web service standard. Our analysis shows that participants spend a bulk of their time discussing technical issues, identifying action items, and engaging in discussion to reach consensus. These activities reveal prototypical roles that participants take on such as: Advocate, Architect, Bystander, Critic, Facilitator, Guru, and Procrastinator. Together, the findings support the existence of three clusters in standards development processes: design activities performed by Architects, sense-making activities performed by Critics, and managerial activities performed by Facilitators; along with the important activity of coordinating the work of multiple participants. We discuss implications of our findings and identify opportunities for future work.