Penguins, Camels, and Other Birds of a Feather: Brokerage, Boundary Spanning, and Leadership in Open Innovation Communities
60 Pages Posted: 2 May 2005
Date Written: April 8, 2005
What types of human and social capital identify the emergence of leaders of open innovation communities? Consistent with the norms of an engineering culture, we find that future leaders must first make strong technical contributions. Beyond technical contributions, they must then integrate their voluntary communities in order to avoid the ever present danger of forking and balkanization. This is enabled by two correlated but distinct social positions: brokerage, and boundary spanning between technological modules. An inherent lack of trust associated with brokerage positions can be overcome through physical interaction or contributions within technological boundaries. Successful leaders are thus the product of strong technical contribution and a structural position that can bind the community together.
Keywords: open source, brokerage, boundary spanning, leadership
JEL Classification: O31, P32, L31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation