ECIS 2020 Research Papers


This paper suggests that leadership in Open Source Software (OSS) communities can be better conceptualised as collectively shared, communal processes or ‘distributed leadership’. The quality of distributed leadership and its role in the Community performance can be, however, difficult to evaluate and improve. In order to address this problem, the paper develops an integrated analytical framework that organizes leadership practices along three dimensions: technocratic, empathic and network. We apply and further elaborate this framework in relation to the Drupal OSS community in which we follow the interactions over three months of four developers who have generic leadership roles. The findings show how the repertoire of leadership practices of each developer pattern into a particular leadership style. These leadership styles are then used to show how they co-constitute the overall leadership capacity of the Drupal community. This paper, thus, offers granular and discriminatory insights into our understanding of leadership, which plays a central role in sustaining open communities. This research also holds practical implications for evaluating and improving distributed leadership



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