My research interests lie in the areas of open source software development and online communities. I am particularly interested in understanding how we can replicate the unique value creation mechanisms that operate in open source software communities across IT and non-IT firms. Some of the research topics that I am currently pursuing include open source work structures, open source licensing, and network governance.
Journal Publications/Articles under Review
Does Superposition Influence the Success of FLOSS Projects? Examining Open Source Software Development by Organizations and Individuals
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, forthcoming at Information Systems Research, Oct 2018
- How does the extent of superposition of tasks influence the success of FLOSS projects? How does organizational ownership influence this relationship? Read Abstract
Collaboration through open superposition describes the dominant work orchestration mechanism observed in Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS), wherein the software development occurs by the sequential layering of individual tasks. This work orchestration mechanism is different from the traditional idea of software development, where the focus is towards co-work and concurrent development facilitated by a modular software design architecture. Our study theorizes and examines the motivational mechanisms that operate within superposed work structures to influence the success of FLOSS projects. We also unearth the contextual conditions that may limit the influence of the superposed nature of work on FLOSS project success. Furthermore, given the increasing usage of FLOSS by organizations, we investigate the specificities brought to these motivational mechanisms when FLOSS projects are owned by organizations. The results from our analysis of over 6500 FLOSS projects hosted on GitHub support a nonlinear relationship between the degree of superposition and the success of the FLOSS project. Moreover, we find that the type of ownership moderates this nonlinear relationship such that (1) organizational ownership mitigates the influence of the degree of superposition on the success of the project, and (2) under organizational ownership, the optimal degree of superposition (the point at which the success of the project is at a maximum) is lower than for individual-owned projects. This research advances our understanding of work structures, motivation, and organizational participation in FLOSS environments by describing the influence of task structures on the success of projects. The study also provides FLOSS practitioners with valuable insights for modeling project task structures to facilitate their success.
Ideological Shifts in Open Source Orchestration: Examining the Influence of Licence Choice and Organizational Participation on Open Source Project Outcomes
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, under review at EJIS Special Issue on Orchestration in Contemporary Software Development Ecosystems, Sep 2018
- How have the ideological shifts invoked by (a) the emergence of permissive licenses, and (b) the shift towards organizational ownership, transformed the influence of FLOSS work structures on project outcomes? Read Abstract
Though, volunteer driven Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS) development was founded on the ideological beliefs of ‘openness’ and ‘absence of any commercial appropriation’, in recent years FLOSS movement has witnessed two ideological shifts. First, the emergence of ‘permissive FLOSS licenses’ that allow commercial appropriation of the collaboratively developed code, and second, ‘organizational ownership’ of FLOSS projects. Because ideological beliefs shape the motivational needs of the volunteer contributors which shape the emergent work structures in FLOSS projects, it is expected that ideological shifts could influence the mechanisms through which dominant work structures in FLOSS projects are related to their outcomes. Motivated by the need to understand the impact of these ideological shifts, we theorize the mechanisms through which the two ideological shifts alter the influence of FLOSS work structures on project outcomes of popularity and survival. The results from our analysis of over 4000 FLOSS projects hosted on GitHub confirm the significance of both the ideological shifts with some interesting contextual differences across the two project outcomes. Specifically, we find that the ideological shift pertaining to license type has a significant influence on both the examined project outcomes, whereas organizational ownership has a greater influence on popularity as compared to the survival of FLOSS projects. The description of the underlying mechanisms provides a holistic view of FLOSS ideological shifts and their impacts in a rapidly evolving open source software development landscape. The study also provides FLOSS practitioners with valuable insights on the role of license types and organizational participation in orchestrating the desired project outcomes.
From Corporate Social Responsibility to Disruptive Innovation: Samsung’s Green Memory Initiative [Link]
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, Advances in Bus Ethics Res, Vol. 7, Gilbert Lenssen et al. (Eds): The Role of Corporate Sustainability in Asian Development, 2017
- The study traces the history of Samsung’s green management initiative to highlight the growing significance of CSR practices for technology companies and to reaffirm the potential large-scale impact of such initiatives on the company’s competitiveness and to the direction of innovation in the industry as a whole. Read Abstract
While companies are ceaselessly employing several Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, few can claim real business value from such practices. The case describes CSR practices implemented by Samsung Electronics that not only created value for the company but also resulted in disruptive innovations, which have the potential to change the face of the computer memory industry. Guided by its philosophy of ‘ceaseless innovation’, Samsung’s green memory solutions have evolved into environmentally sustainable products that can also provide substantial financial returns. The case traces the history of Samsung’s green management initiative – starting since its inception in 2009 till the creation of its present day 5th generation green memory products. The study highlights the growing significance of CSR practices for technology companies and reaffirms the potential large-scale impact of such initiatives on the company’s competitiveness and to the direction of innovation in the industry as a whole.
Restrictions in Open Source: A Study of Team Composition and Ownership in Open Source Software Development Projects[Link]
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, in proceedings of 39th International Conference on Information Systems, San Francisco, 2018
- What role does team composition (in terms of types of contributors) have in influencing the survival of FLOSS projects? b) How does organizational ownership moderate this relationship? Read Abstract
Grounding our study in the theories of coordination and network governance, we examine the influence of restricting the main project code access on the likelihood of survival of Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Furthermore, given the increasing shift of organizations towards adopting the open source development approach, we investigate the changes brought to the coordination mechanisms when FLOSS projects are owned by organizations (as compared to individuals). The results from our analysis of about 6500 FLOSS projects started in early 2014 indicates the presence of a mixed direct influence of proportion of core contributors who have write access to the main project code and the survival of the FLOSS projects. Deeper analysis reveals that this mixed direct effect is due to the moderating influence of the type of ownership (organizational versus individual). Organizational ownership tends to mitigate the influence that code access restrictions have on the survival of the project. Our research advances the understanding on contributor roles, team composition and organizational participation in FLOSS environments. The findings provide researchers and practitioners with insights for designing effective FLOSS project teams that can contribute to the success of such projects.
License Choice and the Changing Structures of Work in Organization Owned Open Source Projects [Link]
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, in proceedings of the ACM SIGMIS-CPR’17, Bangalore 2017
- Nominated for the Magid Igbaria Outstanding Conference Paper of the year at ACM SIGMIS-CPR’17
- How does the choice of licenses impact the structures of work in organization owned FLOSS projects? And consequently, what is its impact on the success of the project? Read Abstract
Digitally enabled transformations have allowed organizations and individuals to adopt open source as a viable mode of software development. In fact, organizations are increasingly moving away from traditional licenses in favor of open source licenses. However, extant literature reports conflicting findings regarding the impact of different open source licenses on the success of the project. Through this research, we attempt to reconcile the conflicting findings in literature by providing a more nuanced understanding of the mechanisms through which the type of license influences the success of the project. Using propensity score matching and ordinary least squares regression analysis on a sample of 2110 organization owned open source projects, we compare the structures of work across the two main types of licenses and study its relation to the success of the project. The results of our analysis indicate that different motivational mechanisms are at play under different licenses, which in turn has an influence on the optimal structures of work for a particular license. From these results we conclude that the success of the project depends on how well the structures of work are aligned to the motivational requirements created by the license. The findings provide significant insights for open source researchers and organizations as to how they can model the structures of work to facilitate the success of open source projects.
Does the Task Structure of Open Source Projects Matter? Superposition and Value Creation [Link]
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, in proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Information Systems, Dublin, 2016
- How does the extent of superposition of tasks influence the end-user value of the FLOSS projects? Read Abstract
Collaboration through open superposition describes a process of building free (libre) and open source software (FLOSS), wherein motivationally independent layers of work is sequentially added one-on-top the other over time. This research-in-progress paper theorizes the mechanisms through which superposition influences the value of individual and organizational owned FLOSS projects. We argue for a non-linear relationship between degree of superposition and value of the FLOSS project. Moreover, we posit that the type of ownership will moderate this non-linear relationship. The moderation effect is such that – (1) organizational ownership mitigates the influence of degree of superposition on project value (2) under organizational ownership, the optimal value of degree of superposition (the point at which the project value is maximum) is lower as compared to individual owned projects. This research attempts to advance the theory of superposition and unearth the influence of task structure on the value of the FLOSS project.
Towards a Framework for Assessing Agility [Link]
- Joint with with Subir Bhattacharya, in proceedings of the 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Maui, 2012
- How can we objectively assess agility? Can there be a set of criteria, and a prescription for their evaluation, that would help clients judge the agility of the software vendors?
Read AbstractAs software houses align themselves to serve clients operating in rapidly changing business environments, they start putting more emphasis on increasing their agility. However as a precursor to this, there is a need within an organization to measure and monitor its agility. The clients also would be interested to know the level of agility of their vendors. While the need for an effective metric is well established, the subjective nature of the parameters involved, and the need for some degree of generality makes the task of assessing agility a difficult one. This paper is an attempt to arrive at a quantifiable, scalable framework to measure the same. Apart from giving a framework which can be used to assess the agility of a company, this paper indicates how a detailed sensitivity analysis can be done with respect to the parameters that define agility.
Restrictions in Open Source: A Study of Team Composition and Ownership in Open Source Software Development Projects
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, preliminary draft available
- What role does team composition (in terms of types of contributors) have in influencing the survival of FLOSS projects? b) How does organizational ownership moderate this relationship?
- Expanding the research submitted for ICIS 2018 by additional theorization of effects on the popularity of the project and inclusion of a mathematical model to identify the boundary conditions
- Mixed method – Empirical research + mathematical model
Do-ocracy Based Dynamic Governance: Understanding Governance in Open Source Software Projects
- Joint with Shirish C. Srivastava, research design phase
- This paper develops and illustrates the theory of duocracy based dynamic governance
- We illustrate the mechanisms through which this unique governance mechanism can ensure the evolution of effective team hierarchies that adheres to the social practices of the community
- Mixed method – Archive based field study + interviews/survey
A Control Systems Perspective towards Understanding the Temporal Effect of Feedback
- Joint with Saverio Dave Favaron, research design phase
- Deriving insights from control systems theories, we unearth the temporal influence of feedback mechanisms
- Empirical research
Leveraging Social Influence to Tackle Endogeneity
- Develop a generalized method that exploits the social influence involved in the decision making process to control for endogeneity
Read AbstractGrowing concerns of endogeneity has intensified the search for identification strategies in IS research. In this research, we sought to explore if the social influence involved in the decision making process can be exploited to control for endogeneity in the Free (Libre) and Open Source Software (FLOSS) license context. We base our approach on research that describe how prior adopters of FLOSS licenses can socially influence a new project’s choice of license. The instrument variable based approach developed was tested on a sample of around 1300 FLOSS projects. The preliminary results obtained is promising and suggests that the license choice of socially proximate prior adopters can act as good instruments for the focal project’s choice of license. Further, the integrated social features of software development environments like GitHub allows us to operationalize the instrument variable and provides opportunities to improve the validity of the developed instrument. The identified approach, while developed to test the relationships in the open source license context can be adapted to other settings that see social influence in the decision making process.
Affordances and Value Creation through Collaborative Development Platforms
- Identify the typology of affordances made available by collaborative development platforms like Github and their impact on the emergent work and governance structures Read Abstract
This exploratory study of the Github distributed version control systems (DVCS) platform attempts to unearth the affordances of collaborative development platforms that allows the unique work and governance structures to emerge and create value. Since their appearance in 2001, Git based distributed version control systems (DVCS), like GitHub, have revolutionized the way distributed software development is carried out (Gousios et al. 2014). Of interest for this study, is the introduction of social features in these development platforms that affords new forms of collaborative development (Kalliamvakou et al. 2014). Drawing insights from Zammuto et al. (2007) and using a mix of archival field studies and a survey-based approach, we identify a typology of affordances made available by the socio-technical development platforms.