Exogenous versus Endogenous Governance of Open Collaborative Innovation Communities:

Niclas Störmer

Exogenous versus Endogenous Governance of Open Collaborative Innovation Communities:
An Experimental Investigaton

Communities of volunteers creating innovative outcomes, so called open collo borative innovation (OCI) communities, have received considerably scholarly attention. Such communities have shown to be extremely successful as outstanding examples of Wikipedia and numerous open source communities producing software confirm. When investigating OCI communities' one key question is governance, that is, the way the community coordinates and organizes the work. Recently, a growing number of firms have started to make use of OCI communities, either by sponsoring or interacting with them. The emergence of firms shifts the focus from self-governance of volunteers to external, firm-initiated, governance of communities.

In this dissertation I examine the effects of exogenous vs. endogenous governance rules an an OCI community handling an innovative task. Specifically, I investigate the relationship between the two governance modes (exogenous vs. endogenous) and key factors such as motivation, conflict and justice within a community. Furthermore, I investigate the association between these key factors and interaction behavior and performance of the community. I conduct an experiment with 70 students, divided into teams of live. I manipulate procedural legitimacy by allowing one group to choose a set of rules and giving the other group the same rules exogenously. I analyze the effects using self-reported data and measures for interaction behavior and performance in two separate but interconnected quantitative studies. To gain a deeper understanding and confirm the findings of the first studies I also investigate group interactions and behavior applying qualitative methods within a third study.

My findings indicate that letting an OCI community choose its own governance rules leads to increasing level of conflict, negatively impacting motivation. They further suggest that external intervention does not per se cripple motivation of volunteers, but may mitigate conflict and enhance the performance of the community.


  • Introduction
  • Phenomenological Background
  • Theoretical Foundations of Governance
  • Research Design and Framework
  • Empirical Study
  • Analysis and Results
  • Discussion and Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • References