استراتژی هایی برای مدل های کسب و کار ترکیبی مبتنی بر نرم افزار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|7806||2012||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||16736 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Volume 21, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 274–294
The open source approach to software development has been used by software organizations in tandem with their existing business models, which are based on proprietary software licensing. This led to the creation of hybrid business models that merge open source and proprietary paradigms. This paper explores the practices used by software product vendors using hybrid business models and proposes strategies emerging out of these practices using interpretive, single case study research design.
Open source software (OSS) is a software licensing and development paradigm (Lerner and Tirole, 2002 and Lerner and Tirole, 2005). Its conceptual foundation can be traced back to the Free Software Foundation (FSF). In 1985, FSF was founded by Richard Stallman to counter the growing influence proprietary organizations had over the software that was being developed at institutes like MIT. Founded to counter the proprietary model, the Free Software movement had several distinguishing features, compared to the typical proprietary model of software development. Salient features of OSS include product licensing that mandates the source code of the software to be publicly available and modifiable (Lerner and Tirole, 2005), as opposed to proprietary licensing that did not allow users to either see or modify the source code, and highly collaborative software development involving user communities ( Lakhani et al., 2003 and von Hippel, 2005), as opposed to the guarded, in-house software development in the proprietary model. These practices were later carried forward from the Free Software movement to the OSS paradigm and have since led to a creation of widely-used software products, such as the Linux operating system and Apache web server. From the research perspective, OSS has received considerable research attention, leading to research issues, such as motivation for participation and the competitive dynamics of OSS versus proprietary software (von Krogh and Spaeth, 2007). For commercial software organizations, the open source approach to software development offered advantages like faster product development and faster product distribution (Vitari and Ravarini, 2009), and perhaps to leverage these advantages, commercial software organizations use the open source approach as a part of their business model. Business models that integrate the open source approach with the traditional proprietary software business model are called hybrid business models in the literature (Bonaccorsi et al., 2006). Since its conceptualization by Mahadevan (2000), the idea of the business model has been examined through numerous frameworks (Morris et al., 2005). Although there is no well-accepted definition of the term business model (Hedman and Kalling, 2003), it is understood to represent a map of activities that link value creation, value delivery, and revenue generation. Thus, in order to understand the business model of a firm, it is important to understand these interrelated activities. Organizational research is full of concepts that talk about an organization’s operations. For example, organizational process refers to an interrelated set of activities that are coordinated to achieve a certain goal. However, business models are highly contextualized to particular organizational settings because, in addition to activities, business models interface with the people and other resources. Hence, it is important to view the underlying activities by keeping the context of their execution intact. Organizational practice is one of the useful theoretical perspectives that can link the activities or actions of a business to its existence (Kostova and Roth, 2002). Organizational practices are defined as an organization’s routine use of knowledge for conducting a particular function that has evolved over time under the influence of the organization’s history, people, interests, and actions. Perceived from the practice perspective, a general business model and a hybrid business model can be viewed as configurations of organizational practices. Consequently, it can be argued that in order to employ a hybrid business model, an organization must employ and configure the organizational practices that aid in hybridization. However, what these practices are is not known. Hence, there is a need for further exploration and elaboration ( West, 2003 and Fitzgerald, 2006). In this study, our goal is to partially address this gap through a single case study research design. The product chosen for the case study was a successful OSS product created by a commercial software organization that has a hybrid business model. The success of an OSS product implies community participation and software usage. This is in line with the existing literature on OSS product success ( Grewal et al., 2006, Stewart et al., 2006, Subramanian et al., 2009, Lee et al., 2009 and Comino et al., 2007). Through our case-based research, we report five management practices and three emergent strategies used in formulating the organization’s hybrid business model. The authors believed that the study provides a fresh conceptualization of the phenomenon at hand, and it has theoretical and practical implications for undertaking and using OSS-based hybrid business models. The paper is structured as follows: In the next section, we elaborate on the evolution of OSS from its ideological origins in Free Software to an approach for software development that can be merged with the proprietary business model. We end the section by highlighting the research gap. In the next section, we provide an explanation of the research methodology, including data collection and data analysis processes. Next, we outline the inferred management practices and strategies. The paper concludes by highlighting the contributions and limitations of the study along with future research directions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Organizational scholars are beginning to acknowledge the increasing use of hybrid business models for software products (Fitzgerald, 2006, Bonaccorsi et al., 2006, Ågerfalk and Fitzgerald, 2008, Hemphill, 2006 and Krishnamurthy, 2005). This study explores the phenomenon of hybrid business models using an organizational practices perspective and tries to identify organizational practices and emergent strategies. The study identifies five management practices and three underlying strategies. To a certain extent, this study answers Fitzgerald’s (2006) call for doing more external research in OSS. 5.1. Selective revealing Henkel’s (2006) idea of selective revealing is extended in the formulation of the first strategy. Henkel (2006) conceptualized selective revealing as a conscious effort by organizations to toggle between restricting and publicizing their contributions to OSS products. In this study, the actual manifestation of the strategy, in terms of practices, is explained. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first empirically grounded studies of selective revealing as a strategic answer to the dilemma of merging proprietary and open source approaches. Based on the combined practices under selective revealing, it can also be conceptualized as a framework for balancing the competing paradigms of OSS and proprietary software. The first aspect of the framework was called functional generality. If a particular software feature/function is usable by most of the intended user-base, then it can be released under an open source regime. The second aspect is functional differentiation. The success of the OSS aspect of the hybrid business model depends on the success of its proprietary aspect and vice versa. Hence, none of the aspects are indispensible. As most hybrid business models would characterize these divergent approaches through multiple editions, there has to be enough differentiation between these editions to warrant the presence of two approaches. This inference is, in fact, a precursor to the first aspect of the framework, termed as functional generality. The final aspect of the framework is external knowledge. There is no practice that explicitly refers to this dimension. Rather, it refers to the broad interest of the combined practices under selective revealing. Scholars have always stressed the importance of external knowledge (knowledge beyond the boundaries of the organization) in an organization for purposes like generating new product/service ideas, improving existing products/services, and marketing existing products/services ( Cohen and Levinthal, 1990 and Chesbrough, 2003). In case of a hybrid business model, the open source/community/free edition was used to leverage external knowledge. 5.2. Segmented meshing The second strategy of segmented meshing focuses on the interface between the organization and the product community. Such interfaces are called boundary organizations, and they work toward managing the divergent interest of the parties involved (O’Mahony and Bechky, 2008). Segmented meshing can be treated as a strategic response used to manage boundary organizations. The idea behind segmented meshing comes from Fitzgerald’s (2006) request of changing the nature of OSS communities. Existing literature on OSS looks at communities as a homogenous social structure ( Shah, 2006 and von Hippel and von Krogh, 2003). However, the adoption of hybrid business models for the software products that are being developed for enterprises involves a product community that is made up of multiple segments: developers, business users, partners, users of the community edition only, etc. To further complicate the matter, the boundaries of these segments are open. For example, a business partner for the community edition can become a business partner for the proprietary edition. Similarly, customers of the community edition may become customers of the proprietary edition. These open segments have a bearing on the nature of the participation, where each community is interested in a different aspect of the product. In such scenarios, sourcing and coordinating contributions from the community becomes important. Segmented meshing brings forth this divided view of community (hence the term segmented). Meshing refers to generating and coordinating contributions from different community segments. The mere identification of segments is not sufficient. Coordinating development across these segments is equally important. By coordinating the development process through a customized development platform, Openbravo ERP could not only provide a range of related products but could also bring all the contributors to a single platform for development. This naturally facilitated the coordination across the community segments (meshing). 5.3. Strategic licensing Finally, the idea of strategic licensing builds on the literature of the choice of OSS licensing, where the existing OSS licensing literature is dominated by the restrictive and non-restrictive paradigms (Lerner and Tirole, 2002 and Lerner and Tirole, 2005) and is governed by factors like the need to attract developers to the product (Sen et al., 2008) and the social influence on the licensors (Singh and Phelps, 2009). We proposed that in addition to attracting developers to the product, organizations might need to look at different aspects of their business models and then choose the license that fits well with the strongest aspect of their business model. Licensing can also be seen as an incentive strategy for sourcing contributions from different segments of the OSS community. Developers’ participatory motivations have been a topic of significant research attention in OSS (Lerner and Tirole, 2002, Hertel et al., 2003 and Wu et al., 2007). However, motivation will be different for different segments in the community. Indeed, the community consists of different segments, and these segments are interested in the software product for different reasons. In the case of Openbravo ERP, licensing was devised to provide an incentive for its business partners to develop their own business models on top of Openbravo ERP (much like the platform strategy explained by West (2003)). Thus, organizations can choose a license for their software products that satisfies the needs of different segments of the community, which motivates the community members to participate in the development of the software. 5.4. Organizational practices for the hybrid business model: grounding in literature Much like the research grounding for strategies, organizational practices can be viewed as logical extensions of findings reported in earlier studies. For example, Dahlander and Magnusson (2008) identified ownership-driven licensing as a tactic for aligning an organization and community objectives and avoiding any ownership-related conflict (p: 641). The practice of providing a license that allows for proprietary usage extends the scope of this tactic from avoidance of conflict to satisfying profit motives for some sections of the community (for example, Openbravo’s partners developed their own proprietary extensions, allowing them to leverage Openbravo ERP as a platform for their businesses). Similarly, the tactic of feeding the non-strategic code to the community is extended through the practice of providing free access to maintenance packs. Although maintenance packs were a strategy for generating revenue, Openbravo ERP provided maintenance packs as part of their community edition also. In other words, instead of releasing non-strategic code, practice four focuses on product-critical code that is essential for the functioning of the community edition of the software product. Similar comparisons can be drawn from West and O’Mahony (2008). West and O’Mahony (2008) propose allowing community members to create and own sub-projects as techniques for firms’ participation is OSS. These techniques may be considered analogous to allowing community members to create proprietary extensions. Further the practice of choosing licensing from restrictive or non-restrictive paradigms is extended by including community segments as a determinant in licensing choice. In summary, it can be argued that the practices identified in the case study relate to and extend the existing understanding of the strategy for firms participating in OSS. 5.5. Factors influencing adoption of hybrid business models Software product organizations are adopting hybrid business model as a way of doing business (Campbell-Kelly and Garcia-Swartz, 2010). However, the adoption process can be tricky and as we found in case of Openbravo, it is influenced by number of factors. Leadership remains a key influencer on emergence of operating mechanisms for OSS communities (Lerner and Tirole, 2002 and O’Mahony and Ferraro, 2007). Some projects do not have a single leader but instead rely on community leadership. For example, Apache Foundation has a distributed form of leadership structure where a board takes policy decisions and each project under the foundation is empowered to make decisions on technical progress and development activities (Fielding, 1999). The structure also involves voting rights to members of Apache Group. In words of Roy Fielding, co-founder of Apache Foundation, “there was no Apache CEO, president, or manager to turn to for making decisions. Instead, we needed to determine group consensus, without using synchronous communication” (Fielding, 1999). On the other hand, Linus Torvalds; founder of Linux operating system, holds the final decision making authority. He relies on a core team of project managers who are responsible for advising him on various project-related issues. Termed as benevolent dictator leadership (Raymond, 2001), this approach differs from that of Apache foundation. Under this approach, leader keeps the complete authority yet fosters collaborative operating mechanisms. Clearly, open source does not mandate a single form of leadership. In the case of Openbravo, the key challenge was balancing the open source and proprietary facets of the business model. Practices I and IV specifically addressed the challenge. The community leader with ‘right pedigree’ positively influenced attempts to tackle this challenge. A community manager was associated to open source projects. What we found that was a bit challenging over the years was to maintain the community and to balance the commercial efforts with the community efforts and trying to figure out a fair business model that would allow us to generate revenues but at the same time would not have been perceived by our community as being exploitation of open source. That was a quite a bit of a challenge for us. We have been very lucky we had at that time a community manager Jordi Mas that had a lot of experience in open source, was one of the leading open source people in Spain, had published books, participated in localization of Open Office. He helped manage the community and put in place a very community friendly culture within the company that allowed us to really maintain a very healthy community[Chief Technology Officer, Openbravo ERP] Conversely, if community perceived the leader to be deviant from open source philosophy, then it also generated negative reactions; indicating that community members considered leader’s past adherence to open source philosophy as an important attribute. It can therefore be concluded that previous association of community leader with open source had a positive influence on execution of Openbravo’s hybrid business model. My background is with [Proprietary Software Product Company X] and at a point we have another person from [Proprietary Software Product Company Y] so people took that as… that we didn’t have the right pedigree in the open source… to involve in an Open source project… that company was hiring too many people with the proprietary background.[Chief Technology Officer, Openbravo ERP] The other issue referred to creation of knowledge sharing practices. Open source approach differs from proprietary one in its degree of collaborative efforts (Lerner and Tirole, 2002). The effort is driven by an environment where community members are encouraged to share knowledge amongst each other (Kuk, 2006). As the knowledge often relates to the software itself, its sharing has a positive influence on the development efforts. However, there is no clear answer as to why people participate in knowledge sharing as both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are at play (Wasko and Faraj, 2005 and Lakhani and Wolf, 2005). The question of motivations for participation is one of most researched avenues in OSS domain (von Krogh and Spaeth, 2007). It is often observed that all members in OSS community do not equally involve themselves in sharing knowledge in spite of using the software (Lakhani and Wolf, 2005). In the case of hybrid business model, knowledge sharing becomes even more complex challenge, mainly because sharing is supposed to happen between actors sitting on either side organizational boundaries. The scenario has been examined through various theoretical lenses such as absorptive capacity (Dahlander and Magnusson, 2008) and open innovation (West and Gallagher, 2006). However, there is a general consensus that institutionalizing knowledge sharing mechanisms requires organizational intervention. Openbravo ERP was no exception to this. Knowledge sharing was facilitated through both the technological and process-oriented interventions. Development infrastructure of Openbravo was publicly accessible where users could review the progress and share their feedback. Development process artifacts such as product roadmap were articulated through consensus building across community members supported by a formal process of polling for inclusion/exclusion of functionality in the ongoing release plan. These activities often included external as well as internal actors. Before publishing this roadmap we have the open forums which we have the discussion of product strategy and the bottlenecks in the system and the things we envisioned important to product and our community. There is a poll and everybody in the community can participate in a poll and there is a rating after the poll. […] Once we have the functionality we blog about it, we dedicate separate forums for this functionality and any person can try this functionality, provide us feedback, based on this feedback we can tune this functionality[Product development manager, Openbravo ERP] Also, there were public discussion platforms where users could discuss various issues related to product. These discussions were not capsuled but were fed back to the product development and release management. These activities were not peripheral to Openbravo’s business model but were integrated into its operationalization. Our public Wiki where project has a section on the Wiki where there are open specifications, open technical designs and everything is openly discussed and openly documented so that the people in the community can monitor the progress […] It is the loop that feeds itself because once they test, they report issues, raise new ideas, new feature requests and that comes into the scheduling of the next release.[Chief Technology Officer, Openbravo ERP] Lastly, as the hybrid business model is a configuration of organizational practices that are transferred from OSS and proprietary approaches, its operationalization would also be subject to factors that influence such a transfer. Kostova and Roth (2002) highlighted two factors that affect the inter-organizational transfer of practices: the institutional profile of the host country for the subsidiary and the relational congruence between the subsidiary and parent company. Kostova & Roth’s (2002) work discussed subsidiary and parent companies. However, their factors seem relevant in hybrid business models. Let’s examine the possible role of the institutional profile of a country. Kostova and Roth (2002) define an institutional profile as the issue-specific set of regulatory, cognitive, and normative institutions in a given country. When extended to the OSS phenomenon, these two factors can be identified as attributes of the institutional profile: the nature of the local software industry and government policies toward OSS. These factors affect the adoption of OSS in a given country (Noonan et al., 2008 and Comino and Manenti, 2005). Because the presence of OSS is a critical aspect for any software product organization wanting to adopt a hybrid business model (such hybrid business models treat the community as a sourcing partners (Ågerfalk and Fitzgerald, 2008). Government policies and the nature of the local software industry affect the adoption of OSS in a given geographical area and, in turn, influence the transfer of practices from OSS to a software product organization in a given geographical setting. Thus, a software product organization has to manage its relational congruence with OSS. The question, however, is how such contexts can be assessed. From the case of Openbravo ERP, at least two types of relational congruence assessments can occur: people and tools. People-oriented relational congruence is captured in earlier explanation of leadership styles and leaders’ open source pedigree. Tools-oriented congruence reflected the technological imperative. Openbravo ERP was developed using open source technologies such as MySQL, Java and Apache. This was a precursor to the adoption of organizational practices from OSS. As is clear from the following excerpts, the transition to a hybrid business model was a natural course of action based on the open source nature of the underlying technologies. To begin with, they decided that they wanted to license it under an Open source license primarily because they wanted to leverage open source technology components. Because they were embedding technology components, they decided that the overall project was to be licensed under Open source license[Chief Technology Officer, Openbravo ERP]. A resultant word of caution for a software product organization: operationalization of hybrid business model is influenced by numerous factors. In case of Openbravo, three factors were identified: relational congruence (use of open source technologies, leadership’s open source pedigree), institutional profile of the country (government policies, nature of local software industry), and creation of knowledge sharing practices. 5.6. Sourcing contributions from community Hybrid business models thrive on contributions from product communities (open sourcing) (Ågerfalk and Fitzgerald, 2008). However, it is important for an organization to understand community contributions. There have been several attempts to theorize the idea of contributions from stakeholders outside organizational boundaries. Some prominent contributions include: external knowledge, absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990), user innovation (von Hippel, 2005), and open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006). However, these do not relate contributions to different dimensions of the business model. Openbravo’s case study revealed that community contributions relate to the development and distribution dimensions of the hybrid business model. In the development phase, the community contributes through the identification of issues and suggestion of new features. This contribution is usually captured in the product roadmap, which is an important tool in product development. In the distribution phase, the community participates by creating awareness and the redistribution of the software. Indeed, community contribution cannot be viewed outside the context of the underlying business model. With these inferences, community contributions in hybrid business models are defined as value additions achieved across the dimensions of the underlying business model through the participation of stakeholders outside the boundaries of an organization. 5.7. Software services and hybrid business model The proprietary software business thrives on services bundled with software products and licenses (Popp and Meyer, 2010, Light and Sawyer, 2007 and Qu, 2008). In fact, service quality is considered one of the determinants of the adoptive success of an information system (DeLone and McLean, 1992 and DeLone and McLean, 2003). However, open source software does not come with any service guarantees. The very licensing of the software eradicates any responsibility of service provision and enables it to be distributed as is (Lerner and Tirole, 2005). Users of OSS, therefore, tend to rely on informal support garnered from other community members, and the availability and quality of such support is a determinant of OSS success (Lee et al., 2009). The hybrid business model exhibits impressions of both approaches. Therefore, it is worthwhile examining if product hybridization (achieved usually through software licensing) also translates into service hybridization. Studies conclude that almost all variants of the hybrid business model depend on offering services where the software itself is distributed under open source (Krishnamurthy, 2005 and Fitzgerald, 2006). In case of Openbravo ERP, some evidence was found indicating the presence of both formal and community-driven delivery of services. The community edition of Openbravo ERP was devoid of any formal service contracts. One segment of Openbravo’s partners was implementing the open source edition for their clients without any commercial relationship with Openbravo ERP. These partners drew service support from both community members and their own, in-house expertise. On the other hand, subscriptions of professional edition were bundled with services, such as training and certification. Delivery of these services was governed by formal contractual agreements. Partner organizations with subscriptions for the professional edition received support services directly from Openbravo. We have people that implement the products…the projects at their customers. So they are system integrators and value-added resellers that provide services around our product, but they choose to work in the pure community vault without any commercial relationship with us […]our business partners that are people that provide services but they choose to do it on professional edition and having commercial relationship with us […]We have community service providers that have a platform that they can use and leverage for free to provide services and generate revenues for themselves[Chief Technology Officer, Openbravo ERP]. Such duality of service delivery indicates that both formal service bundling and community service offerings were made available from Openbravo ERP. This assumption furthers the argument that services are important for hybrid business models. It can also be suggested that hybrid business models achieve product as well as service hybridization with each form of service delivery (formal versus community) adding value to different editions of the software product. 5.8. Strategic purity versus hybridization: a larger debate The inherent tension of combining mutually exclusive approaches (open source and proprietary) is an instance of a larger debate of strategic purity, which is defined as an organization’s adherence to a single strategic direction using generic strategies (Thornhill and White, 2007). The central tenet is that general organizational strategies are distinct from each other, and when an organization tries to adopt multiple and, often conflicting strategies, it leads to an organization stuck in the middle, where none of the strategies is likely to succeed. This situation is often perceived as undesirable for an organization, largely by the Porter’s school of strategic thinking (Thornhill and White, 2007). However, an organization is forced to forego the opportunities presented by other, divergent strategic directions. For example, an organization looking to adopt cost leadership may not be able to pursue a more resource-intensive differentiation strategy (as it would conflict with a cost reduction strategy). Software product organizations seek to overcome this limitation. In proprietary businesses, the idea is to maintain the product differentiation through vendor lock-in and strong appropriation regimes while the increasing costs of development require organizations to reduce costs. Hybridization is increasingly becoming the accepted answer to fight this dichotomy. This is apparent in the increasing acceptance of hybrid business models and strategies that compel organizations to adopt multiple, and often conflicting, directions (Campbell-Kelly and Garcia-Swartz, 2010). Open source and proprietary software approaches have operationally and philosophically divergent roots, and organizations find it challenging to merge the two. However, organizational practice, with its holistic conceptualization, provides a vehicle for software product organizations to undertake a hybridization effort. In addition, these practices provide organizational scholars with a conceptual perspective for investigating such instances. 5.9. Limitations and future research This study is not without its limitations. First, the methodology of a single case study can pose challenges to the generalization of the study’s findings. We caution the reader to scrutinize the findings within the context of the case. This is rather a methodological limitation. As the phenomenon is studied in its natural context, researcher may not have control over the settings or the actors involved (Yin, 2009). Naturally the influence of context on study’s findings cannot be negated. Secondly, strong bias toward the organizational perspective concerning the product has led to the omission of the perspectives of other stakeholders in the Openbravo environment (for example, partners, clients, and competitors). Better triangulation can be achieved by incorporating evidence from these sources. Thirdly, the study does not attempt to develop any particular theory, as outlined by Gregor (2006), but has the more humble objective of making an observed anomaly clearer through the understanding of management practices and strategies. We suggest several research avenues. First, it would be worth examining if some of the reported practices are best practices in the software product industry. This can be done through the use of multiple case studies selected through replication logic (Eisenhardt, 1989), where multiple OSS products with hybrid business models may be studied and the application of techniques, such as pattern matching, would reveal the presence of these practices across products. The outcome of such exercises could be a theory approximation (Weick, 1995). Thus, there are considerable opportunities for developing new theories in this domain. One may also undertake a more general study of other industries, such as pharmaceuticals and automobiles, where organizations are employing hybrid business models. Secondly, it might be worthwhile to examine if any of the reported practices indeed affect the development and/or usage of OSS products with hybrid business models. The success of OSS products has been studied to some extent (Comino et al., 2007 and Subramanian et al., 2009), but there is little exclusive focus on OSS products with hybrid business models. One possible approach includes examining the development and usage of a large sample-set of OSS products, and through a typical variance research design, it can be determined if the presence of these practices has any significant relationship with the success of the product. Thirdly, it might be worthwhile to contrast the idea of organizational practices against other theoretical perspectives in strategic management, such as capabilities. Capabilities refer to vehicles that are used to manifest the strategy formulated. For example, Peppard and Ward (2004) define information system capability as “the ability to translate the business strategy into long term information architectures, technology infrastructure and resourcing plans that enable the implementation of the strategy” (p: 177). In examining open innovation archetypes, Gassmann and Enkel (2004) outlined three capabilities: relational, absorptive, and multiplicative. A particular capability was critical depending on the open innovation approach adopted by the organization. It may be useful to know if any of these capabilities are necessary for the adoption of the identified organizational practices or vice versa. Such an examination can highlight the interplay between different paradigms within strategic management literature. Some efforts have already been made in this direction. For example, Orlikowski (2002) demonstrates that ‘distributed organizing’ as a capability is grounded in everyday practices of ‘knowing’ across distributed teams. A longitudinal study can examine the life-cycle of these practices. Surely, with a heavy contextual dependence, practices undergo change. It is worthwhile examining how these practices change and how these changes link back to the hybrid business model. Some characteristic issues are as follows: are hybridized practices stable? If no, then are their changes reflected in the underlying hybrid business model? Studies could also examine different factors that influence adoption and operationalization of hybrid business models. Present study does reveal perception about leaders’ open source pedigree as a dimension of relational congruence. However, if one is to view developing software product in collaborative environment as a knowledge creation then leadership has a wider role; influencing “local knowledge creation, resource provision and providing strategic direction” (von Krogh et al., 2012). Therefore it is worth investigating leadership traits that might influence tactical as well as strategic issues in knowledge creation in a hybridized context. There are other research directions as well. Hybrid business model may manifest in different forms (Hemphill, 2006 and Krishnamurthy, 2005). In each manifestation, the knowledge creation may be organized separately or the nature of organization’s participation would change (Dahlander and Magnusson, 2005). In such scenarios, would the influence of leadership traits differ across manifestations of hybrid business model? Even more fundamentally, when organizations adopt a particular form of hybrid business model, how do they decide to formulate a particular leadership structure? A longitudinal study on leadership styles and structures under different manifestations of hybrid business models would be suitable. It is observed that in communities involved in producing collective good (such as OSS), understanding of leadership evolves (O’Mahony and Ferraro, 2007). The change however is captured in resultant governance mechanisms. One direction can therefore be to study analyze if knowledge creation mechanisms are influenced by changing autocratic and democratic governance mechanisms. Future research can also delve deeper into the actual knowledge creation and sharing mechanisms. In case of Openbravo, such mechanisms were integral to its hybrid business model. However, a proprietary organization transiting to a hybrid business model may have cultural ‘stickiness’ in adopting new knowledge sharing mechanisms (Bonaccorsi et al., 2006). It may be useful to study evolution of ‘organizational practices’ for knowledge creation and sharing; especially in context of proprietary software product organization transiting to hybrid business model. Naturally, a process study of an organization’s transition into hybrid business model with a specific focus on institutionalizing knowledge sharing practices would be interesting. Knowledge sharing also posits an intellectual property risk. It may be through sharing of ‘too much key’ knowledge or improper handling of the organization’s IP by its partners (Trkman and Desouza, 2012). This is particularly of importance in OSS where the participating community members may remain unknown even to the software product organization (Ågerfalk and Fitzgerald, 2008). To some extent, the selective revealing approach would guard an organization against the sharing of critical knowledge. Yet further studies are required to ascertain how knowledge sharing mechanisms mitigate risk of negative knowledge spillovers. At a more fundamental level, knowledge itself may not shareable; especially in light of organizational practices. Knowledge embedded in such practices may be context sensitive (Marabelli and Newell, 2012). Consequently, all knowledge coming from external resources like users and business partners may not be relevant. Future studies may examine how organizations filter knowledge in-flows. Finally, an organization’s demographics, such as its age and structure, may also influence adoption of the hybrid business model (Bonaccorsi et al., 2006). Studies may therefore examine whether these factors have the same influence across all forms of hybrid business models.