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Abstract

Open innovation is increasingly important for researchers and practitioners alike. Open innovation is closely linked to knowledge creation in that, with open innovation, knowledge inflows and outflows are exploited for innovation. In the information systems field, open innovation has been closely linked to open source software development teams. However, the literature has not yet identified how open source software development teams use information technologies to create knowledge to bring about open innovation. This study fills in this gap by asking the following research questions: RQ1) How do innovative open source software development teams create knowledge?, and RQ2) What types of information technologies do innovative open source software development teams rely on for enabling knowledge creation? I answer these research questions with a revelatory case study. The findings contribute to the knowledge management theory by identifying how three of the four knowledge creation modes identified by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) manifest through different behaviors in the IT-enabled open innovation setting compared to behaviors observed in the organizational setting. The findings also contribute to information systems theory by identifying the role of information technologies in enabling knowledge creation for open innovation. This study further provides researchers and practitioners with ways of identifying knowledge creation by analyzing information technology artifacts, such as mailing lists, issue trackers, and software versioning tools.

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