Title: Open source software adoption and links to innovation performance

Authors: Boris Urban; Barend Christiaan Greyling

Addresses: Graduate School of Business, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, 2 St Davids Place, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa ' Graduate School of Business, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, 2 St Davids Place, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract: Open source software (OSS) has become pervasive in recent years and is often used by smaller firms to augment their limited resource base. Building on research which has focused on strategic factors that are likely to effect the adoption and deployment of OSS, this article draws on theoretical frameworks encompassing the firm's technology, organisation and environment contexts. Hypotheses are formulated to understand the relationship between the level of OSS adoption and innovation performance across a variety of indicators. Data was collected through a survey from small and medium enterprises operating in the ICT software industry in an under-researched geographical emerging market context - South Africa. Regression results suggest that innovation performance is influenced to some degree by the adoption of OSS, particularly where there is evidence of business and collaboration tool usage by these firms. The implications of this study suggest that owners and managers of small and medium firms should consider migration to OSS in order to take advantage of not only direct cost savings but also improved innovation performance effects. For firms in emerging markets the rising trend towards globalisation presents multiple opportunities for embracing a technology orientation with OSS practices which can provide the necessary competitive advantage to compete globally.

Keywords: innovation performance; open source software; OSS adoption; open innovation; technology orientation; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; software industry; emerging markets; South Africa; globalisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2015.070379

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2015 Vol.7 No.3, pp.261 - 278

Received: 27 Nov 2014
Accepted: 28 Nov 2014

Published online: 03 Jul 2015 *

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