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The Openness Phenomenon

"Open-Resourced-base View": A new theory, co-developed by WiSo Professor Detlef Schoder, explains how companies can benefit from opening up their properties.

That Companies publish resources, which give them a strategic advantage over their competitors unprotected, must surprise at first glance and actually contradicts conventional business models almost diametrically.
VRIN information resources (for valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable) are usually classified as protected trade secrets. Traditional resource-level theories suggest protecting such resources rather than giving them away for free.

Nevertheless, successful firms such as IBM, Google, Tesla, Facebook, and Apple have opened once proprietary VRIN information resources (e.g., digital content, code, and APIs) to public use via the Internet. Why do organizations open up their resource base, for example give away for free patents or allow free access to their information resources or other intellectual property? Practice shows that openness plays a decisive role for gaining competitive advantage, business model innovation, and business performance.

A promising new stream of research to explain the economic rationale for such observed market behavior of firms is now presented by Professor Detlef Schoder (Department of Information Systems and Information Management), Professor Kai Fischbach (University of Bamberg) and Dr Daniel Schlagwein (Associate Professor, University of Sdney).

With the “Open-Resource-based View / ORBV” they first develop the concept of “resources openness” in its two dimensions, access and control, and building on this, a theoretical model to explain the impacts of these two openness dimensions on firms’ value creation and value appropriation. The theory thus also provides managerial implications including advice how firms should approach the openness phenomenon for their own strategic positioning on how to conduct their information resource base.

The research paper "Open Resource-Based View (ORBV): A Theory of Resource Openness" was (as „Completed Research Paper“) officially published on Wednesday. The paper was presented at ICIS 2019 in Munich, one of the world's most renowned conferences in the field of information systems.