Systèmes d'Information et Management


he aim of this article is to better understand how service companies, which were initial- ly non-profit organizations, can develop a commercial activity in open source software. From a theoretical point of view, the strategic behavior of firms is influenced by social rules to which they must, at least partially, comply in order to seem legitimate. At the method- ological level, this research builds on the work of Lisein et al. (2009) who have identified four key dimensions in the ideology of the OSS. A quantitative study on a sample of 71 Open Source Software Companies (OSSC) allows highlighting three strategic behaviors. Two of them represent hybridization strategies, while the third is much closer to a strict commercial logic. Then, the qualitative study of three cases of OSSC, that were previously sampled, were used to better understand the benefits that these companies expect from interacting with the non-commercial sphere and the strategic maneuvers they deploy. Our results confirm that OSSC are positioning themselves on the four generic principles constituting the ideology of OSS. Therefore Lisein et al. (2009) Model seems validated. How- ever, our observations show that it is possible to combine market and non-market logics with different behaviors. These behaviors are distinguished on three key dimensions: the discussions with the open source community relationship, the type of legitimacy sought, the strategic maneuvers deployed. This research may well be of particular interest to managers of OSSC to better understand the consequences and implications of their strategic position- ing choices between market and non-market sphere.