Open Source Corporate Strategy (OSCS): Reaching outside the firm’s boundaries to tap upon global talent

We propose a new concept, OSCS, seeking to explain the process by which the firm incorporates open source principles into its business model, as an effective diversification strategy to gain and sustain competitive advantage, in the context of a globally interconnected society. Several large firms, such as IBM, Netflix, Sun Microsystems, Amazon, have willingly given up control of core assets of their firms, making them available to the public at large, and encouraging them to build upon those assets collaboratively. Ultimately, there is evidence that firms following this strategy are getting large numbers of innovative global non-employees to create new value that benefits the firm and helps steer its way into the future. Interestingly, this advantage is based upon assets that the firm relinquishes control over. We suggest that there is a need to reconcile existing theory with the existence of an advantage outside the boundaries of the formal interorganizational fabric, bridging into the public domain. We will discuss how the open-source view may offer new insights and normative grounds for firm-level strategies that extend and complement the prescriptions offered by those with an industry-structure view (Porter 1985), resource-based view (Barney 1991), or relational-view (Dyer and Singh 1998). The panelists build upon their research on important concepts such as “openness”, “knowledge bridging”, “broadcast search”, “internet business models”, as they relate to firm strategy and contribute towards the OSCS concept. These insights and the open interactive discussions shall provide additional material for thought and inquiry in this nascent paradigm in management.

Presented at:
Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, USA, August 6-8, 2007
AOM Symposium sponsored by Divisions: Business Policy and Strategy (BPS), Organization and Management Theory (OMT), Technology and Innovation Management (TIM). Panelists and Subjects: David, Paul A., “The organization of distributed problem-solving and the evolution of corporate innovation strategy”, Stanford University and University of Oxford. Hsu, David H., “Thoughts on Open Source Corporate Strategy”, Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. Jeppesen, Lars B & Lakhani Karim R., “Broadcast search in problem solving”, Copenhagen Business School. Lakhani, Karim R, “Substitutes for ‘Management’ in open source communities”, Harvard Business School. Villarroel, J. Andrei & Tucci, Christopher L., “What is Open Source Corporate Strategy (OSCS) ? : The firm’s strategic perspective on open source”, College of Management of Technology at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

 Record created 2007-03-16, last modified 2018-03-17

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