Problem-Formulation and Problem-Solving in Self-Organized Communities: How Modes of Communication Shape Project Behaviors in the Free Open-Source Software Community

Nicolai Juul Foss, Lars Frederiksen, Francesco Rullani

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Building on the problem-solving perspective, we study behaviors related to projects and the communication-based antecedents of such behaviors in the free open-source software (FOSS) community. We examine two kinds of problem/project-behaviors: Individuals can set up projects around the formulation of new problems or join existing projects and define and/or work on subproblems within an existing problem. The choice between these two behaviors is influenced by the mode of communication. A communication mode with little a priori structure is the best mode for communicating about new problems (i.e., formulating a problem); empirically, it is associated with project launching behaviors. In contrast, more structured communication fits subproblems better and is related to project joining behaviors. Our hypotheses derive support from data from the FOSS community.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalStrategic Management Journal
    Issue number13
    Pages (from-to)2589-2610
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    • Communities
    • Open-source software
    • Problem-solving
    • Project organization
    • Communication

    Cite this