This paper studies the success of Open Source Software (OSS) projects in attracting developer interest and achieving project efficiency. The focus of our study is on examining the relationship between the four sets of capabilities proposed in the Theory of Competency Rallying (TCR) and the success of OSS projects. The data collected from 607 OSS projects mainly confirm that the capabilities proposed in the TCR are necessary for the success of OSS projects. The results of this study show that in order to succeed, OSS projects should constantly identify their market’s quality and functionality needs. Ability of OSS project managers to know which developers possess certain skills required to meet a particular market need is also found to be critical. Another capability that is recognised to be crucial in predicting project success is the ability of OSS developers in effectively addressing market needs and continuously learning from such experiences. Finally, the ability of stakeholders involving in addressing a particular market need to efficiently collaborate and fulfil that specific market need is found to be another essential capability required for OSS projects to succeed. Implications of the results for practitioners and the research community are presented.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
To our understanding, none of the four capabilities introduced by Crowston and Scozzi (2002) directly refers to “addressing the identified needs”. Thus, in this paper we assume that “development of competencies” actually means addressing the identified need by the employees and developing their competencies by the learning that occurs as a result of addressing the need. That is why we locate “development of competencies” as third capability while Crowston and Scozzi (2002) considered it as first capability.
GNU is an open source operating system developed by the GNU project. GNU is a recursive acronym that stands for “GNU is Not Unix”.
Academy, B. (1971). The Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ahuja, M. K., & Carley, K. M. (2006). Network Structure in Virtual Organizations. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(4).
Capiluppi, A., Lago, P., & Morisio, M. (2003). Characteristics of Open Source Projects. In the 7th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering (pp. 317–327).
Carillo, K., & Okoli, C. (2008). The open source movement: a revolution in software development. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 49(2), 1–9.
Cassel, C., Hackl, P., & Westlund, A. H. (1999). Robustness of partial least-squares method for estimating latent variable quality structures. Journal of Applied Statistics, 26(4), 435–446.
Charnes, A., Cooper, W. W., & Rhodes, E. (1978). Measuring the efficiency of decision making units. European Journal of Operational Research, 2(6), 429–444.
Chengalur-Smith, S., & Sidorova, A. (2003). Survival of open-source projects: A population ecology perspective. In the 24th International Conference of Information Systems. Atlanta, GA.
Colazo, J. (2007). Innovation success: An empirical study of software development projects in the context of the open source paradigm. Canada: The University of Western Ontario (Canada).
Colazo, J., & Fang, Y. (2009). Impact of license choice on open source software development activity. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(5), 997–1011.
Cotterman, W. W., & Senn, J. A. (Eds.). (1992). Challenges and strategies for research in systems development. Chichester: Wiley Series in Information Systems.
Crowston, K., & Scozzi, B. (2002). Open source software projects as virtual organisations: competency rallying for software development. IEE Software Proceedings, 149(1), 3–17.
Crowston, K., & Scozzi, B. (2008). Bug fixing practices within free/libre open source software development teams. Journal of Database Management, 19(2), 1–30.
Crowston, K., Annabi, H., & Howison, J. (2003). Defining open source software project success. In the 24th International Conference on Information Systems. Seattle, WA.
Crowston, K., Howison, J., & Annabi, H. (2006). Information systems success in free and open source software development: theory and measures. Software Process: Improvement and Practice, 11(2), 123–148.
David, P. A., Waterman, A., & Arora, S. (2003). FLOSS-US the free/libre/open source software survey for 2003, Available at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/floss-us/report/FLOSS-US-Report.pdf.
De Joode, R., & van, W. (2004). Managing conflicts in open source communities. Electronic Markets, 14(2), 104.
DeLone, W. H., & McLean, E. R. (2003). The DeLone and McLean model of information systems success: a ten-year update. Journal of Management Information Systems, 19(4), 9–30.
Eikebrokk, T. R., & Olsen, D. H. (2007). An empirical investigation of competency factors affecting e-business success in European SMEs. Information & Management, 44(4), 364–383.
Fang, Y., & Neufeld, D. (2009). Understanding sustained participation in open source software projects. Journal of Management Information Systems, 25(4), 9–50.
Faraj, S., & Sproull, L. (2000). Coordinating expertise in software development teams. Management Science, 46(12), 1554–1568.
Garousi, V. (2009). Evidence-based insights about issue management processes: An exploratory study. In the International Conference on Software Process. Vancouver, Canada.
Ghapanchi, A. H., & Aurum, A. (2012). The impact of project capabilities on project performance: case of open source software projects. International Journal of Project Management.
Ghapanchi, A. H., Jafarzadeh, M. H., & Khakbaz, M. H. (2008). Fuzzy-data envelopment analysis approach to enterprise resource planning system analysis and selection. International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management, 3(2), 157–170.
Grewal, R., Lilien, G. L., & Mallapragada, G. (2006). Location, location, location: how network embeddedness affects project success in open source systems. Management Science, 52, 1043–1056.
Hahn, J., & Zhang, C. (2005). An exploratory study of open source projects from a project management perspective. Available at: http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/academics/mis/workshop/hz_110405.pdf [Accessed October 22, 2010].
Hair, J. F., et al. (2006). Multivariate data analysis. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
Katzy, B. R., & Crowston, K. (2008). Competency rallying for technical innovation–the case of the Virtuelle Fabrik. Technovation, 28(10), 679–692.
Koch, S. (2004). Profiling an open source project ecology and its programmers. Electronic Markets, 14(2), 77.
Koch, S. (2009). Exploring the effects of sourceforge.net coordination and communication tools on the efficiency of open source projects using data envelopment analysis. Empirical Software Engineering, 14(4), 397–417.
Krishnamurthy, S. (2002). Cave or community?: An empirical examination of 100 mature open source projects. SSRN eLibrary. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=667402 [Accessed October 22, 2010].
Liu, X. (2008). Design architecture, developer networks and performance of open source software projects. PhD dissertation. Massachusetts: Boston University.
Long, J. (2006). Understanding the role of core developers in open source software development. Journal of Information, Information Technology, and Organizations, 1, 75–85.
Midha, V. (2007). Antecedent to the success of open source software. PhD dissertation. North Carolina: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Midha, V., et al. (2010). Improving open source software maintenance. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 50(3), 81–90.
Nichols, P. (1999). An introduction to the logframe approach: course workbook & materials. Melbourne: IDSS.
Norin, L. A., & Stockel, F. (1998). Open-source software development methodology. Master dissertation. Luleå university of technology.
Open Source Initiative, 2005. Available at: http://www.opensource.org.
Paulson, J. W., Succi, G., & Eberlein, A. (2004). An empirical study of open-source and closed-source software products. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 30(4), 246–256.
Priem, R. L., & Butler, J. E. (2001). Is the resource-based “view” a useful perspective for strategic management research? The Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 22–40.
Raymond, E. S. (1999). The cathedral and the bazaar. First Monday, 3(3).
Raymond, E. S. (2001). The cathedral and the bazaar: Musings on Linux and open source by an accidental revolutionary (Revth ed.). Sebastopol: O’Reilly.
Scacchi, W. (2007). Understanding the Development of Free ECommerce/ E-Business Software: A Resource-Based View. In Emerging free/open source software practices (pp. 170–190). Hershey: IDEA Group Publishing.
Sen, R. (2007). A strategic analysis of competition between open source and proprietary software. Journal of Management Information Systems, 24(1), 233–257.
Stewart, K. J., Ammeter, A. P., & Maruping, L. M. (2006). Impacts of license choice and organizational sponsorship on user interest and development activity in open source software projects. Information Systems Research, 17(2), 126–144.
Subramaniam, C., Sen, R., & Nelson, M. L. (2009). Determinants of open source software project success: a longitudinal study. Decision Support Systems, 46(2), 576–585.
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (1996). Using multivariate statistics (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins.
Vemuri, V. K., & Bertone, V. (2004). Will the open source movement survive a litigious society? Electronic Markets, 14(2), 114.
Wray, B., & Mathieu, R. (2008). Evaluating the performance of open source software projects using data envelopment analysis. Information Management & Computer Security, 16(5), 449–462.
Zhao, L., & Deek, F. P. (2004). User collaboration in open source software development. Electronic Markets, 14(2), 89.
Responsible editor: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann
About this article
Cite this article
Ghapanchi, A.H., Aurum, A. Competency rallying in electronic markets: implications for open source project success. Electron Markets 22, 117–127 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-012-0088-0
- Competency rallying
- Market needs
- Project competencies
- Open source software
- OSS success
- M00 (M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting)