What is it about?
Past research on volunteer organizations has identified a set of characteristics of this mode of work, including non-monetary motivations for work, unclear job expectations, a core-periphery structure, reduced real-time coordination and knowledge of other workers and limited organizational control. The example of free/libre open source software development shows that increased technology support for work can mitigate some of these problems, but others remain.
Why is it important?
We argue that the future of work will take on some characteristics of volunteering. As a result, understanding how teams of free/libre open source software developers have been so successful in the face of the problems of volunteer work offers suggestions for the future of work more generally. For example, we suggest that managers should expect to see a core-periphery structure in the groups they manage and so identify ways to increase workers' knowledge of each other and promote alternative forms of leadership.
The following have contributed to this page: Kevin Crowston