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Flat for the few, steep for the many: Structural cohesion and Rich-Club effect as measures of hierarchy and control in FLOSS communities

Flat for the few, steep for the many: Structural cohesion and Rich-Club effect as measures of hierarchy and control in FLOSS communities

Conaldi, Guido (2010) Flat for the few, steep for the many: Structural cohesion and Rich-Club effect as measures of hierarchy and control in FLOSS communities. International Journal of Open Source Software and Processes (IJOSSP), 2 (2). pp. 14-28. ISSN 1942-3926 (Print), 1942-3934 (Online) (doi:10.4018/jossp.2010040102)

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Abstract

A discrepancy exists between the emphasis posed by practitioners on decentralized and non-hierarchical communication in Free Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) communities and empirical evidence of their hierarchical structure. To explain this paradox, it is hypothesized firstly that in FLOSS communities local sub-groups exist and are less hierarchical, more decentralized than the whole social network. Secondly, it is hypothesized that the bulk of communication exchanges taking place in the community happens inside local sub-groups formed by the most active community members. The recollection that practitioners have of FLOSS communities to which they participate would then be influenced by the position that they occupy inside those sub-groups. A measure of structural cohesion based on network node connectivity is proposed as an effective method to test whether FLOSS communication networks can be decomposed in nested hierarchies of progressively less centralized sub-groups. The recently introduced measure of weighted rich-club effect is adopted to test for the tendency of the most active community members to control communication by interacting more intensely with each other than with other members of the network. Results from a case study that are consistent with the hypotheses are presented and discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] This journal is an official publication of the Information Resources Management Association.
Uncontrolled Keywords: free libre/open source software (FLOSS), organization hierarchy, organizational communication, social networks, software industry, virtual organizations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Centre for Business Network Analysis
Faculty of Business
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:20
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/7988

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