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Open source content contributors' response to free-riding: the effect of personality and context
Abstract We address concerns about the sustainabiliWe address concerns about the sustainability of the open source content model by examining the effect of external appropriation, whereby the product of open source contributors’ efforts is monetized by a party that did not contribute to the project, on intended effort withdrawal (reduction in contribution level). We examine both the personality of contributors and their contextual motivations to contribute, using a scenario-based survey of Wikipedia contributors. The findings suggest that perceived justice of the open source license terms, and intrinsic motivations are both negatively related with effort withdrawal intentions. Moreover, we find that the effect of the fairness personality trait on effort withdrawal is stronger for individuals who are low in perceived justice and weaker for individuals high in justice. The findings of factors predicting effort withdrawal contribute to the open source literature, which tends to focus on contribution and motivations, but not on what impacts changes in individual contribution levels.changes in individual contribution levels.
Added by wikilit team Added on initial load  +
Collected data time dimension Cross-sectional  +
Conclusion The findings of the present study suggest The findings of the present study suggest that the possibility of free riding in the form of external appropriation poses a threat to open source content contribution. This is important to those concerned with the open source model in general, and open source content in particular, as the sustainability of open source projects depends to a large extent on contributors’ willingness to contribute to such projects, which is, in turn, affected by contributors’ motivations, fairness, and perceptions of the open source model’s justice. Therefore, understanding the details of the relationship between external appropriation and contributors’ effort withdrawal can inform practitioners and researchers alike as to how to address the external appropriation threat. Consistent with the literature on justice perceptions and individuals’ performance in organizations (e.g. Colquitt et al., 2006), perceived justice of external appropriation was found to be negatively correlated with effort withdrawal, so that the more contributors perceive the open source content license as just, the less they will tend to withdraw their efforts. Similarly, intrinsic motivations for contribution were also found to be negatively correlated with effort withdrawal. Moreover, by looking at both personality and contextual factors, we were able to show how personality interacts with context: the interaction of the personality trait of fairness with perceived justice has an effect on effort withdrawal intentions such that the effect of fairness on effort withdrawal intentions is stronger for people who are low in justice and weaker for individuals high in justice. This finding is consistent with the social psychology literature, according to which people who score low on the fairness trait are willing to gain by cheating or stealing, whereas those who score high are not willing to take advantage of others (Lee & Ashton, 2004). In the open source case studied, contributors who score high on fairness and who perceive external appropriation to be unjust (i.e. they score low on perceived justice), tend to reduce their expected level of contribution effort as a result of such appropriation, as expected. Finding factors that predict effort withdrawal intentions adds a new perspective to the literature on open source contribution (e.g. Hars & Ou, 2002; Lakhani &Wolf, 2005; Nov, 2007; Roberts et al., 2006; von Hippel & von Krogh, 2003). This literature tends to focus on open source contribution and motivations, but not on what underpins changes in individual contribution levels, which is the addressed by the present study. The present study is subject to the limitation that while Wikipedia is a prominent user-generated content project, there are many other projects, in which the effect of external appropriation on expected contribution might be different. Further research of other projects is therefore needed in order for the present study to be generalized upon. From a practical point of view, the present study has implications for organizers of open source content projects who seek to recruit and retain content contributors. As part of the marketing, recruitment and cultivation efforts, it is advised that the potential and actual contributors be informed about the open source model and its license terms, and that the aspects of contribution that may appeal to intrinsic motivations – such as the fun associated with contribution – be highlighted. This way, contributors might be less inclined to withdraw efforts as a result of future external appropriation. Another issue the present study highlights is the importance of the open source license terms: different open source licenses may reflect different stances towards the possibility of external appropriation. The findings of the present study can help organizers of open source content projects to make informed decisions about the license to be adopted.decisions about the license to be adopted.
Data source Survey responses  +
Doi 10.1016/j.chb.2008.04.009 +
Google scholar url http://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Open%2Bsource%2Bcontent%2Bcontributors%27%2Bresponse%2Bto%2Bfree-riding%3A%2Bthe%2Beffect%2Bof%2Bpersonality%2Band%2Bcontext%22  +
Has author Oded Nov + , George Kuk +
Has domain Information systems +
Has topic Legal infrastructure + , Contributor motivation +
Issue 6  +
Month September  +
Pages 2848-2861  +
Peer reviewed Yes  +
Publication type Journal article  +
Published in Computers in Human Behavior +
Research design Statistical analysis  +
Research questions Motivated by these concerns, in this paperMotivated by these concerns, in this paper we explore the impact of external appropriation on intended efforts of open source content contributors. We focus on the following questions: what is it about individuals involved in open source content contribution that determines their response to expected external appropriation? Is it personality, or contextual factors such as motivations or perceptions of justice that determines the response, or is it the interaction of these factors? To address these questions, we examine both context and personality, as both are believed to determine individuals’ behavior (Ross & Nisbett, 1991).uals’ behavior (Ross & Nisbett, 1991).
Revid 11,249  +
Theories Hypothesis 1. Perceived justice of externaHypothesis 1. Perceived justice of external appropriation will be negatively related to effort withdrawal intentions. Hypothesis 2a. Intrinsic motivations will be negatively related to effort withdrawal intentions. Hypothesis 2b. Perceived justice of external appropriation will moderate the effect of intrinsic motivations on effort withdrawal, such that the effect of intrinsic motivations on effort withdrawal will be stronger for people who are low in justice and weaker for individuals high in justice. Hypothesis 3. Perceived justice will moderate the effect of trait fairness on effort withdrawal intentions such that the effect of fairness on effort withdrawal will be stronger for people who are low in justice and weaker for individuals high in justice.nd weaker for individuals high in justice.
Theory type Analysis  + , Explanation  +
Title Open source content contributors' response to free-riding: the effect of personality and context
Unit of analysis User  +
Url http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.04.009  +
Volume 24  +
Wikipedia coverage Case  +
Wikipedia data extraction N/A  +
Wikipedia language Not specified  +
Wikipedia page type N/A  +
Year 2008  +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 15 March 2012 20:29:56  +
Categories Legal infrastructure  + , Contributor motivation  + , Information systems  + , Publications with missing comments  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 30 January 2014 20:30:15  +
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