A structurational perspective on leadership in free/libre open source software teams

Kevin Crowston, Robert Heckman, Hala Annabi, Chengetai Masango

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this conceptual paper, we present a structuration- based theory of leadership behaviours in self-organizing distributed teams such as Free/Libre Open Source Software development teams. Such teams are often composed of members of relatively equal status or who are so disparate in background that formal organizational status seems irrelevant, reducing the usual leadership cues provided by organizational status and title. Building on a functional view of leadership and structuration theory, we suggest that leaders are individuals who develop team structures that then guide the actions of team members. Specifically, we examine structures of signification in the form of shared mental models, structures of domination in the form of role structures and structures of legitimation in form of rules and norms. The main contribution of our paper is the integration of various social theories to describe emergent leadership behaviours in distributed teams. We develop a set of propositions and illustrate with examples taken from Free/Libre Open Source Software development teams. We conclude by suggesting practical implications as well as future research that might be conducted to test and further elaborate our theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages9-15
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Event1st International Conference on Open Source Systems, OSS 2005 - Genova, Italy
Duration: Jul 11 2005Jul 15 2005

Other

Other1st International Conference on Open Source Systems, OSS 2005
CountryItaly
CityGenova
Period7/11/057/15/05

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software

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    Crowston, K., Heckman, R., Annabi, H., & Masango, C. (2005). A structurational perspective on leadership in free/libre open source software teams. 9-15. Paper presented at 1st International Conference on Open Source Systems, OSS 2005, Genova, Italy.