Less is not more: Larger open source projects do better if well organized


Spontaneous production groups are thought to be less effective at larger scales. Lacking formal organization, larger groups spend too much time on communication. Vital resources are spent on keeping the group together, rather than on production. This becomes even more critical in online environments, where communication is reduced to rather narrow channels.

This is what the theory says. And it might even be true, if and only if, coordination is absent. Recent research indicates, however, that online production teams that aggregate spontaneously increase in efficiency as they become larger if they have good coordination mechanisms. Thus  the Olson paradox needs to be qualified by introducing in the equation the presence and intensity of social structures.


A review of existing literature on this topic, especially in wiki environments.


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Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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