Open source content contributors' response to free-riding: The effect of personality and context

Oded Nov, George Kuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We address concerns about the sustainability of the open source content model by examining the effect of external appropriation, whereby the product of open source contributors' efforts is monetized by a party that did not contribute to the project, on intended effort withdrawal (reduction in contribution level). We examine both the personality of contributors and their contextual motivations to contribute, using a scenario-based survey of Wikipedia contributors. The findings suggest that perceived justice of the open source license terms, and intrinsic motivations are both negatively related with effort withdrawal intentions. Moreover, we find that the effect of the fairness personality trait on effort withdrawal is stronger for individuals who are low in perceived justice and weaker for individuals high in justice. The findings of factors predicting effort withdrawal contribute to the open source literature, which tends to focus on contribution and motivations, but not on what impacts changes in individual contribution levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2848-2861
Number of pages14
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 17 2008


  • Fairness
  • Justice
  • Motivation
  • Open source content
  • Personality
  • Wikipedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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