Using the Linux kernel as my dissertation subject, I completed a PhD at the University of Greenwich in London within the Centre for Business Network Analysis in 2018. You can find more details below, or contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a copy of my 150 page dissertation.
Title: Understanding Collaboration in Fluid Organizations, a Proximity Approach
As fluid organizations become increasingly important and more commonly used, continued evolution in approaches to understanding collaboration within organizations is required. The aim of this study was to understand collaboration in a fluid organization through the exploration of proximity and the role of networks. This study used proximity theory to determine the role of cognitive, organizational, social, institutional and geographical proximity on the likelihood of collaboration within the Linux kernel, a fluid organization. This research contributes to the literature on fluid organization in three ways. First, five criteria are proposed to determine whether an organization is fluid, and those criteria are used to demonstrate that the Linux kernel is a fluid organization. Second, the research demonstrates that proximity theory can be used as a theoretical lens to better understand intraorganizational collaboration in fluid organizations. Third, the impact of third party organizations is shown to influence collaboration in fluid organizations. In addition to these contributions to theory, several implications for practice are also explored. The results of this work showed that cognitive and social proximities increased the likelihood of collaboration, and that individuals were also more likely to collaborate with others who work for the same employer. The findings for geographical proximity were mixed, but indicated that it provides a small increase in the likelihood of collaboration. There was no consistent evidence that institutional proximity influences the likelihood of collaboration. This research also demonstrated the use of several alternative ways to operationalize proximity and found several interactions between dimensions of proximity. Finally, it was found that network effects also influenced the likelihood of collaboration in this fluid organization.
Academic Papers and Conference Presentations
- Conaldi, G., De Vita, R., Ghinoi, S. and Foster, D.M., 2023, ‘Virtual collaborative spaces: a case study on the antecedents of collaboration in an open-source software community’, R&D Management. Available at https://doi.org/10.1111/radm.12599
- Foster, D., Conaldi, G. & De Vita, R., 2017, ‘Understanding Collaboration in Fluid Organizations, a Proximity Approach’, paper presented to Third European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN), Mainz, Germany, 26-29 September, Available at https://www.slideshare.net/geekygirldawn/understanding-collaboration-in-fluid-organizations-a-proximity-approach.
- Foster, D., Conaldi, G. & De Vita, R., 2017, ‘Collaboration between Software Developers and the Impact of Proximity’, poster presented to Sunbelt XXXVII International Social Network Conference, Beijing, 30 May – 4 June, Available at https://www.slideshare.net/geekygirldawn/collaboration-between-software-developers-and-the-impact-of-proximity.
- Foster, D., Conaldi, G. & De Vita, R., 2017, ‘Multilevel Collaboration between Software Developers and the Impact of Proximity’, paper presented to Dynamics of Multilevel Social Network Analysis in Practice, Paris, 27 February – 1 March, Available at https://www.slideshare.net/geekygirldawn/multilevel-collaboration-between-software-developers-and-the-impact-of-proximityan-early-preliminary-work.
- Foster, D., Conaldi, G. & De Vita, R., 2016, ‘Network Relationships and Job Changes of Software Developers’, paper presented to Sunbelt XXXVI International Social Network Conference, Newport Beach, 5-10 April, Available at
- Foster, D., Conaldi, G. & De Vita, R., 2015, ‘The Operationalisation of Collaboration: in Search of a Definition and Its Consequences On Analysis’, paper presented to Sunbelt XXXV International Social Network Conference, Brighton, 23-28 June, Available at http://www.slideshare.net/geekygirldawn/operationalisation-of-collaboration-sunbelt-2015.
Non-Academic Conference Presentations Related to my Research
- Collaboration in Linux Kernel Mailing Lists
- British Computing Society (BCS) Women in Open Source event in September 2020 (video)
- Collaboration in Linux Kernel Mailing Lists
- Linux Foundation Open Source Summit Europe in Edinburgh, October 2018
- Linux Foundation Open Source Summit North America in Vancouver, August 2018
- Collaboration in Linux Kernel Mailing Lists.
- Linux Foundation Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles. September 11, 2017
- Linux Foundation Open Source Summit Europe in Prague. October 23, 2017
- Visualize Your Code Repos and More with Gource.
- FOSDEM Community Devroom. February 5, 2017
- Linuxing in London Meetup. October 25, 2016
- LinuxCon Europe in Berlin. October 6, 2016
- LinuxCon North America in Toronto. August 23, 2016.
- Extracting Data from your Open Source Communities. FOSDEM: HPC, Big Data and Data Science Room. January 31, 2016.
- Visualize your repos: Navigate the myriad of Gource configuration options. FLOSS Community Metrics in Brussels. January 29, 2016.
- Network analysis: People and open source communities.
- LinuxCon Europe in Dublin. October 6, 2015.
- LinuxCon North America in Seattle. August 19, 2015.
- OSCON Portland. July 23, 2015.
- Gource Custom Log Format. FLOSS Community Metrics in Portland. July 19, 2015.
The many other presentations not related to my academic research can be found on my speaking page.