Relationships between open source software companies and communities: Observations from Nordic firms

Linus Dahlander, Mats G. Magnusson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

337 Citations (SciVal)


This paper deals with the relationships between firms and communities in open source software (OSS). A particular feature of OSS is that important resources are not directly controlled by firms, but partly reside within communities that co-exist with the firms. Despite this, firms explicitly try to utilize the resources within these communities in order to create and appropriate value. Consequently, the relationships that firms have to these communities influence their way of doing business. Based on case studies of Nordic OSS firms, a typology consisting of symbiotic, commensalistic, and parasitic approaches to handle the firm-community relationship is developed. Depending on the chosen approach, firms encounter different managerial issues and also use different operational means of subtle control. While firms relying on a symbiotic approach have greater possibility to influence the community through subtle means of control, they are also confronted with more challenging managerial issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-493
Number of pages13
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number4
Early online date21 Mar 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005


  • Communities
  • Open source software
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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