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The relationship between institutions and value creation in software development models


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyse the possibility for firms to consider institutional settings to systematically direct dispersed individual efforts of discovery and invention towards objects (products or processes) of their interest in order to enhance their value creation capacity. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conduct a comparative analysis of the different institutional settings within which software products are invented and produced – closed producer-centred model, open user-centred model, and hybrid interactive producer-user model. Findings: The authors draw indications regarding the possibility to design institutional settings for value creation and the potential pitfalls tied to these strategic tools. Originality/value: A theoretical framework is elaborated in order to understand the different ways in which institutional contexts influence and direct value creation processes. The model analysed shows the firms’ deliberate attempt to stimulate a dynamic process of social interaction and communication which may foster higher levels of creativity and innovation. In order to guarantee the necessary accessibility and to sufficiently motivate external programmers towards the perception of a new code, the firm has to surrender the traditional source through which it appropriates value: barriers to the accessibility of the code developed through IPRs. The adoption of an institutional setting which facilitates dynamic value creation processes suggests, therefore, the need to turn to dynamic mechanisms for value appropriation in parallel.