Understanding the health of technological ecosystems
Wynn, Donald Edward
MetadataShow full item record
The value attainable from information systems investments requires the contributions of not only vendors and customers, but also an interdependent network of skilled professionals and organizations. This is especially salient for open source software, as the contributions are predominantly voluntary. In this study, an ecosystems metaphor is applied from the fields of ecology and human ecology to develop an understanding of the relationships and capital flows that enable the health and sustainability of these technological networks. A healthy ecosystem is defined as one in which the members are able to achieve sufficient returns to both satisfy their needs and encourage continued contributions. Using a case study of particular incidents occurring within professional open source ecosystems, this study attempts to identify the generative mechanisms, antecedent factors, and structural means by which ecosystem health evolves despite the myriad stresses they experience. The data collection via interviews, field observations, and archival data focuses on the circulation, transformation, and accumulation of capital associated with the response to these stresses. In so doing, this research develops a more complete means of assessing not only the health, but also the potential value of participating in these ecosystems.