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Distributed Leadership in OSS

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Association for Computing Machinery


Open-source software (OSS) is software whose source code is available to view, change, and distribute without cost, and is typically developed in a collaborative manner that has captured the imagination of those who view the web as enabling more democratic" models of governance. Researchers have, for years, debated the social structure of OSS projects -- in particular, the extent to which they represent decentralized forms of organization. Many have argued that the significant concentration of code development responsibility raises doubts about whether the level of power-sharing truly qualifies as "distributed" in the way early observers predicted. This research will investigate how changes in the technology that supports these projects -- specifically the greater visibility that characterizes the GitHub workspace may lead to a more broadly and quantifiably distributed leadership. Over the course of several studies employing several methodologies, it will examine leadership in OSS projects when visibility is a feature of the workspace."


McDonald, Nora (2014): Distributed Leadership in OSS. Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/2660398.2660435. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 261–262. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA