A Qualitative Study on the Adoption of Open Source Software in Information Technology Outsourcing Organizations

  • Lakshmanan RamanathanEmail author
  • Sundaresan Krishnan Iyer
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 451)


The purpose of this paper is to identify the influence of Outsourcing on Open source software (OSS) and further investigate the factors that impact the adoption of OSS in global Information Technology (IT) outsourcing organizations serviced by Indian IT services providers. This exploratory research adopted positivism research philosophy and qualitative approach. An in-depth interview was conducted with ten participants across IT outsourcing organizations, IT service providers, and OSS service providers. The results show that IT outsourcing was not found to have an impact on OSS adoption. However, eight factors including management support and OSS support availability was identified to influence OSS adoption. IT services providers can utilize this research model to increase their understanding of why some IT outsourcing organizations choose to adopt OSS, while seemingly similar ones facing similar market conditions do not.


Open source software OSS adoption IT outsourcing TOE Diffusion of innovation Indian IT 


  1. 1.
    NASSCOM Research. The IT-BPM sector in India - Strategic Review 2014. NASSCOM (2014)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Raina, A., Wurster, L.F.: Open source software adoption becoming mainstream in India. Gartner (2013)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Driver, M.: Drivers and incentives for the wide adoption of open source software. Gartner (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Feller, J., Finnegan, P., Kelly, D., MacNamara, M.: Developing open source software: a community-based analysis of research. In: Trauth, E., Howcroft, D., Butler, T., Fitzgerald, B., DeGross, J. (eds.) Social Inclusion: Societal and Organizational Implications for Information Systems. IFIP, vol. 208, pp. 261–278. Springer, Boston (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Stol, K.-J., Babar, M.A.: Reporting empirical research in open source software: the state of practice. In: Boldyreff, C., Crowston, K., Lundell, B., Wasserman, A.I. (eds.) OSS 2009. IFIP AICT, vol. 299, pp. 156–169. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hauge, Ø., Ayala, C., Conradi, R.: Adoption of open source software in software-intensive organizations - A Systematic literature review. Information and Software Technology 52(11), 1133–1154 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ven, K., Verelst, J.: A Qualitative study on the organizational adoption of open source server software. Information Systems Management 29(3), 170–187 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hammouda, I.: Open source software in tunisian software business: an empirical study. In: EUROMICRO-SEAA, pp. 451–454 (2010)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Oliveira, T., Martins, M.F.: Literature review of information technology adoption models at firm level. The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation 14(1), 110–121 (2011)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Corbin, J., Strauss, A.: Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. SAGE Publications (2014)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Depietro, R., Wiarda, E., Fleischer, M.: The context for change: organization, technology and environment. In: Tornatzky, L.G., Fleischer, M. (eds.) The Processes of Technological Innovation, 1st (edn.), pp. 151–175. Lexington Books, Massachusetts (1990)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fichman, R.G.: The diffusion and assimilation of information technology innovations. In: Markus, M.L., Tanis, C., Zmud, R.W. (eds.) Framing the Domains of IT Management: Projecting the Future Through the Past, pp. 105–127. Pinnaflex Educational Resources, Ohio (2000)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rogers, E.M.: Diffusion of Innovations, 4th (edn.), pp. 219–287. Simon and Schuster, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ven, K., Verelst, J.: An empirical investigation into the assimilation of open source server software. Communications of the ACM 28(1), 9 (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dedrick, J., West, J.: Why firms adopt open source platforms: a grounded theory of innovation and standards adoption. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Standard Making: A Critical Research Frontier for Information Systems, MIS Quarterly Special Issue Workshop, Seattle, WA, pp. 236–257 (2003)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hammouda, I., Mikkonen, T., Oksanen, V., Jaaksi, A.: Open source legality patterns: architectural design decisions motivated by legal concerns. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, New York, NY, USA, pp. 207–214. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fitzgerald, B.F., Bassett, G.: Legal Issues Relating to Free and Open Source Software, vol. 1, pp. 11–36. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane (2004)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Spinellis, D., Giannikas, V.: Organizational adoption of open source software. Journal of Systems and Software 85(3), 666–682 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hauge, Ø., Cruzes, D.S., Conradi, R., Velle, K.S., Skarpenes, T.A.: Risks and risk mitigation in open source software adoption: bridging the gap between literature and practice. In: Ågerfalk, P., Boldyreff, C., González-Barahona, J.M., Madey, G.R., Noll, J. (eds.) OSS 2010. IFIP AICT, vol. 319, pp. 105–118. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Glynn, E., Fitzgerald, B., Exton, C.: Commercial adoption of open source software: an empirical study. In: Proceedings of International Conference on Empirical Software Engineering, Noosa Heads, Australia, pp. 225–234. IEEE (2005)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hoecht, A., Trott, P.: Innovation risks of strategic outsourcing. Technovation 26(5), 672–681 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Li, Y., Tan, C.-H., Xu, H., Teo, H.-H.: Open source software adoption: Motivations of adopters and amotivations of non-adopters. ACM SIGMIS Database 42(2), 76–94 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Li, Y., Tan, C.-H., Teo, H.-H., Siow, A.: A human capital perspective of organizational intention to adopt open source software. In: Proceeding of the 26th Annual International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2005), Las Vegas, NV, USA, pp. 137–149 (2005)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Yin, R.K.: Case study research: Design and methods, 5th (edn.), pp. 67–162. SAGE Publications, California (2013)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Eisenhardt, K.M.: Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review 14(4), 532–550 (1989)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lakshmanan Ramanathan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sundaresan Krishnan Iyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Birla Institute of Technology and SciencePilaniIndia
  2. 2.Infosys LimitedMysoreIndia

Personalised recommendations