Open Source Software Projects: A Balance Of Trust And Control

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Open Source Software Projects: A Balance of Trust and Control According to Jones et al. (2005), trust is the single most important driver for the success of virtual teams. However, as a result of Michael Gallivan’s (2001) case study on open source software projects, he now believes that there is another variable to this movement that can be found in control. He presents the McDonaldization theory by identifying four aspects of modern organizations: efficiency, calculability, predictability and control to show that trust may not be the only factor in a successful OSS project.
Trust Defined Gallivan explains that the concept of trust is widespread in the social sciences and has been examined in the literature of many disciplines. With that
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Furthermore, guaranteeing trust is difficult and having too much trust or too little control can be flawed. Unfortunately, contradictory advice is offered to managers that warn them to avoid formalization and monitoring of contractual agreements, because it will cause conflict and distrust. On the other hand, they also suggest that excessive control in seeing the work performed by outsourcing partners can lead to low morale and evading the rules. Gallivan suggests instead, that each agent can have confidence in the behavior and outputs of other agents if certain principles and practices that ensure control are implemented. Rather than seeing a critical role for trust, he argues that by controlling the conditions for collaboration and norms of behavior, any agent can have confidence in others of the virtual organization, thus removing the need for trust ( 2001, pp. …show more content…
With that research, he identified nine papers that met the two criteria as OSS project case studies. The roles that individuals played in the project included: project leaders, developers and others who perform testing, identify bugs and submit problem reports. By noting the three different roles in OSS projects (core developers, peripheral developers and message posters), it shows numerous structural patterns of trust that take place within an OSS project. His first observation noted that there were relatively few references to trust in the nine case studies. His conclusion was, it appeared that either trust was somewhat unimportant in OSS projects or its presence remained unacknowledged and taken for granted. The studies that mention trust concur that although there are different types of trust within an OSS project; trust and dependability are the most important aspects in the growth of an OSS project. This shows that OSS projects can successfully achieve their goals when trust is unimportant or taken for granted (2001, pp.

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