ABSTRACT

Today, the importance of information technology (IT) for the success of most organizations

is widely acknowledged. Likewise, knowledge is deemed a key strategic asset for

organizations (Nonaka, 1994; Turvani, 2001). Bearing these considerations in mind, it is not

surprising that organizations endeavor to combine IT and knowledge management activities

in order to derive potential benefits (Davenport and Prusak, 1998). However, earlier studies

have shown (Davenport, 1997; Raub and von Wittich, 2004) that oftentimes investments in

IT do not facilitate knowledge sharing and organizational learning within the firm, since

employees are not motivated to share their knowledge (Constant et al., 1994; Ciborra and

Patriotta, 1998). Therefore, one can argue that the integration of external knowledge and

expertise (e.g. Leiponen, 2005; Lane and Probert, 2007) via IT might be even more difficult

if there are no market-based incentives for external people to contribute their individual

knowledge to the firm. In contrast, we know that in the case of commons-based peer

production (Benkler, 2002) and in the case of non-commercial open source software (OSS)

development (Raymond, 2001; Lakhani and von Hippel, 2003), highly qualified individuals

engage in knowledge activities beyond hierarchical coordination. It is argued that

contributors to OSS are foremost intrinsically and also extrinsically motivated (Lerner and

Tirole, 2002) to share their knowledge by means of improving software codes. Thus, OSS

might be viewed as an exemplary novel way of organizing knowledge and capabilities

(Langlois and Robertson 1995; Loasby, 1998).