User participation has been argued to be an integral element of open source software (OSS) development, but it has also been acknowledged that user participation of non-developer users hardly exists. This paper reports findings from an interpretive case study examining nondeveloper user participation in an OSS project. The analysis relies on the social shaping on technology tradition, viewing OSS as texts, their development as writing and OSS texts as ‘configuring their users’. The analysis reveals that users take part in ‘configuring the user’ in OSS development, but there also is a need for help in organizing user participation in a more systematic way. Nevertheless, in a certain sense OSS development enables active and effective user participation, which could be put for trial also in other information systems contexts. The paper also introduces a refined conceptualization of the ‘user’, of her ‘participation’ and of the relationship between technology design and use.
Iivari, Netta, "User Participation in 'Configuring the User' in OSS Development" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 199.