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Journal of High Technology Management Research xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of High Technology Management Research
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/hitech
From closed source to open source software: Analysis of the
migration process to Open Office
Luiz Antonio Joia⁎, Luis Carlos dos Santos Vinhais
Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil
AR TI CLE I NF O
AB S T R A CT
Keywords:
Open source software
Open Office
Resistance to information systems
Adoption of information systems
Resistance behaviour to information systems
This article seeks to analyse the migration trajectory from commercial off-the-shelf and closed
source software to open source software in order to establish the critical success/resistance
factors associated with the replacement of the extant Microsoft Office with Open Office software
in a private Brazilian company. The bibliographical review of this work addresses adoption/
resistance to information systems, which is the theoretical framework adopted to explain the data
collected. The single case study method was then applied and data was collected via documentation analysis, interviews, questionnaires, and direct and participant observation. Data
analysis was then conducted by means of content analysis and non-parametric statistics. Based on
that, three types of user behaviour were identified with respect to the intention to use open
source software, namely adopters, partial adopters, and non-adopters. Finally, the reasons for
such behaviour were set forth and discussed in order to make the implications of the study clear.
1. Introduction
Nowadays, open source software (OSS) is an alternative to the purchase of proprietary software licenses, being adopted by an
increasing number of companies worldwide (Crnkovic & Moretti, 2010; Gallego, Bueno, Racero, & Noyes, 2015; GonçalvesNeto & Augusto, 2004; Gutierrez & Alexandre, 2004; Saleh, 2004; Shaikh, 2016). However, despite the importance of the topic, there
is still widespread ignorance in the business community regarding exactly what OSS is (Söderberg, 2015; Stallman, 2007).
According to Stallman (2007), OSS needs to meet the following requirements: freedom to be used, investigated, modified and
have copies distributed with or without changes. In line with this, Hexsel (2002) and Söderberg (2015) argue that these requirements
of OSS are established by its authors through the distribution of the source code of the programs, whereby they are transformed into
public assets, being available to be used by the entire community in the most appropriate and convenient manner.
According to Augusto (2003) and Söderberg (2015), the development model of OSS has some significant differences when
compared to the traditional software industry development model. In the authors' opinion, OSS is developed by a community of
voluntary professionals who use the Internet as their major communication medium, receiving no financial compensation for their
work. Furthermore, the OSS development model reaps benefits from economies of scale and scope, enabling swift correction of errors
and an increase in security. As the source code inspection is public, this enables the code to be rigorously assessed by a large number
of professionals who collaborate to fix any bugs as and when they arise (Saini & Kaur, 2014; Softex, 2005).
Unlike the traditional hierarchical model, which demands rigorous coordination and subordination procedures, the control
mechanism of OSS development projects is positively challenging. In OSS projects, there is a virtual team that interacts digitally
without any direct subordination. Thus, as the participation of professionals is voluntary, they are not submitted to the typical
⁎
Corresponding author at: Praia de Botafogo 190 room 526, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22250-900, Brazil.
E-mail address: [email protected] (L.A. Joia).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hitech.2017.10.008
1047-8310/ © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Please cite this article as: Joia, L.A., Journal of High Technology Management Research (2017),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hitech.2017.10.008
Journal of High Technology Management Research xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
management model of closed source software development (Saini & Kaur, 2014; Taurion, 2004).
Raymond (1999) called the OSS development model the bazaar model, in contrast with the prevailing model for closed source
software development called the cathedral model (Raymond, 1999). In the bazaar model, the software quality does not accrue from
strict standards or autocracy, being obtained by means of the availability of new software releases and performance assessment.
Often, the motivation for the implementation of OSS encompasses technical, ideological, sociological and/or economic issues. Yet,
according to several authors, one of the major drivers for this is cost reduction due to non-payment of licenses for using OSS (Alexy,
Henkel, & Wallin, 2013; Bozman et al., 2002; Bretthauer, 2002; Gallego et al., 2015; Garcia, Santos, Pereira, & Rossi, 2010; Taurion,
2004).
However, quite often initiatives of migration from closed source software to OSS generate user resistance, leading such endeavours to fail (see, for instance, Chau & Tam, 1997; Waring & Maddocks, 2005; Alencar, 2007; Kim & Kankanhalli, 2009).
Of all the OSS available in the market, Open Office – the OSS under analysis in this work – has its origin in the 1990s when the
German company Star Division developed an office package called StarOffice and started to distribute it free of charge for Windows
and Linux platforms (BrOffice.Org, 2011).
In 1999, Star Division was acquired by Sun Microsystems, which shortly after launching StarOffice 5.2 gave part of the source
code of StarOffice to the open source community, becoming the main sponsor and collaborator of the newly-launched OpenOffice.org
project. Since then, millions of copies of this software have been downloaded (BrOffice.Org, 2011).
Thus, this article intends to answer the following research question: Which are the main drivers/inhibitors in the migration
process from closed source software to open software?
Therefore, this article sets out to trace the migration trajectory from commercial off-the-shelf and closed source software
(Microsoft Office) to similar OSS (Open Office) in a company with respect to potential user resistance/acceptance dynamics to this
software.
This article is structured as follows. In the next section, the theoretical references used are set forth. The methodological procedures adopted by the authors in this paper are then discussed. Based on this, the case study is presented and data survey and
analysis are then set forth. In the next section, the results obtained are discussed and, in the last section, the conclusions accrued from
the results are set forth, as well as research limitations and further steps to be pursued in this realm.
2. Bibliographical review
2.1. Resistance to information systems
The level of acceptance and effective use of information systems (IS) is closely linked to the success or failure of their implementation (Joia & Magalhães, 2009; Gaete, 2010; Fernandes, Joia, & Andrade, 2012; Gradvohl, Gaete, & Joia, 2012). The resistance of users to IS arises from several factors and can be considered responsible for new IS implementation delays or even for
rendering their implementation unfeasible (Freitas, Santos, & Luciano, 2005).
Rivard and Lapointe (2012) support that it is important to tackle resistance to IS as it affects user behaviour and influences the
actions taken by managers and system analysts involved in the implementation of new IS. Beaudry and Pinsonneault (2005) also
argue that the absence of user acceptance of new IS a barrier for the success of IS within organisations. This prejudices the performance of the employees of an organisation who are the intended users of IS, which runs contrary to the objective of most
companies that implement automated systems.
In order to exemplify the importance of this subject after analysis of twenty scientific outlets of IS, Lapointe and Rivard (2005)
contend that since the year 2000 forty-three articles have acknowledged resistance to IS as being a critical factor for successful
implementation of IS. While recognising the importance of resistance to IS, according to the authors most of the articles address this
subject as a kind of “black box,” as only nine of the forty-three articles pinpoint resistance antecedents in a clear way.
Based on this, the pressing need to investigate the factors involved in the acceptance and use of IS by users is of paramount
importance. Only after identifying these factors will organisations be able to tackle them in order to ensure that the implementation
process of new systems is successful.
Davis (1989) developed a study that is useful for the identification of such factors. In that study, the Technology Acceptance
Model (TAM) was developed and presented and two factors were duly identified as antecedents of the intention to use IS, namely
perceived utility of the system and perceived ease of use of the system.
Moreover, according to Darsono (2005), individual differences, such as personal knowledge of information technology and the
characteristics of the systems, such as syntax and layout, are the main antecedents to the acceptance of systems by users. The author
argues that these factors directly or indirectly influence the perceptions of ease of use and utility of the system.
The characteristics of the system, mainly its design, are also identified by Doll and Torkzadeh (1998) and Liu, Liao, and Peng
(2005) as significant antecedents of user perception of the level of utility of a system, which according to the authors influences the
intention of use of the IS.
In turn, according to Klaus and Blanton (2010), organisational characteristics such as structure, culture, power distribution,
politics, and control also play an important role in the success/failure of the implementation of systems within organisations, as well
as the technical and managerial features of the systems.
Moreover, by using the ideas of Kling (1980) on resistance to IS, Markus (1983) points out that this resistance encompasses three
dimensions, namely personal, systems, and interaction dimensions, emphasising the last as the most effective to explain the causes of
resistance to IS. The interaction dimension proposed by Markus (1983) is divided into two variants, namely the socio-technical and
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
the political variant. The former variant addresses a new division of labour, whereas the latter variant considers resistance as a
consequence of the interaction between the system and the institutional power distribution within the organisation.
On the other hand, according to Venkatesh, Mooris, Davis, and Davis (2003), several factors can lead a person to accept/reject an
IS. To test this, the authors developed a Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model from the comparative
analysis of eight models identified in the extant literature on this subject. Basically, the UTAUT unveils four antecedent variables and
four moderator variables to the intention to use IS in the organisations The model was validated and tested empirically, thereby
explaining nearly 70% of the variation associated with the intention to use IS. In accordance with the UTAUT model, the antecedent
factors are performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating conditions. In addition to this, other factors
act as moderators of the intention to use IS within the organisations, namely: gender, age, experience, and willingness to use it.
Lapointe and Rivard (2005) argue that when an IS implemented, the users as a group will access the system to assess the
consequences that will accrue from its use. In the event that these consequences lead to a threat of loss of status, initial resistance
behaviour can already be perceived.
According to Markus (1983), an example of those threats is the possibility of loss of power by a group of users, leading them to put
up resistance to the IS, which would not occur if the IS bolstered the power and status of the group. The author considers IS an enabler
of organisational change, which is also supported by Orlikowski (2000), who sees a positive and direct causal relationship between
resistance to IS and the perceived importance ascribed to loss of power by the IS users.
Lapointe and Rivard (2005) also address an important issue related to the IS adoption/rejection process. According to the authors,
the resistance is initially perceived among the users in an individual and independent way. Throughout the IS implementation,
resistance groups are created, which increasingly threatens the implementation of the IS. For Lapointe and Rivard (2005), the
resistance behaviour can be classified into three levels: (1) individual level: the system characteristics are perceived by users during
their interactions with the system and its implementation; (2) group level: a collective construction of meaning about the consequences of the IS implementation is developed by teams, professional categories and other groups within the organisation; and (3)
organisational level: tensions and conflicts between system defenders and opponents can be identified within the organisation.
However, the aforementioned authors support that the group resistance to IS implementation must initially focus on the individual and independent behaviour of users rather than considering the group as a unified entity. In the later implementation stages
of IS, it then becomes relevant to understand how and why the individual resistance turns into group resistance.
Thus, using the theoretical references presented, a meta-frame can be developed to help in the analysis of the data collected and
evidence observed, whereupon the antecedents of individual resistance to the Open Office system can be revealed. Having achieved
that, the emergence of the resistance process to the system can be traced and an attempt made to track the emergence of the group
resistance to it.
That meta-frame is based on the UTAUT model developed by Venkatesh et al. (2003), which differs from other models by bringing
together eight of the most used models that deal with individual resistance to IS. Furthermore, the TAM model proposed by Davis
(1989) enhances the model by means of two aspects analysed in this research, namely perception of system utility and perception of
ease of use by the potential IS users. The ideas set forth by Markus (1983) also deserve mention in the development of the meta-frame,
as they enable the analysis of the individual, technical, social, and political dimensions in an IS implementation. Thus, the ideas of
Markus (1983), as corroborated by Joia and Magalhães (2009) and Fernandes et al. (2012), and operationalized via a quantitative
model by Joia, Gradvohl, and Gaete (2014), analyse resistance to IS at the individual, group, and organisational levels, taking into
account user interaction with the system in a given organisational setting.
It is important to stress that the TAM model and its variants (e.g. UTAUT – Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology)
have limitations, namely they do not consider the specific type of technology under analysis (Orlikowski & Iacono, 2001) and they
investigate an IS implementation in a timeline cross-section (Benbasat & Barki, 2007; Lee, Kozar, & Larsen, 2003; Legris,
Ingham, & Collerette, 2003). Thus, in order to address the first limitation, Open Office is analysed by comparing its characteristics to
those of its predecessor, namely Microsoft Office. Besides, in order to overcome the second restriction, an attempt is made to reproduce the Open Office implementation process over the course of time in the company under analysis.
Moreover, Seldin, Rainho, and Caulliraux (2003) conclude that the main roles played in organisational change processes associated with the introduction of new technologies are ascribed to managers, leaders, and end users. According to the authors, the
managers and project leaders comprise the agents of change responsible for successfully implementing the necessary changes in
accordance with the time schedule and budget forecast and taking into consideration the human aspects involved in this endeavour
(Seldin et al., 2003, p. 06). Thus, the aforementioned authors support that leadership must be considered a critical issue throughout
the process of migration to new information systems, as it is a facilitator of this process of change. While this approach is not
considered explicitly in the meta-frame developed, the role of leadership is taken into account to make sense of the different group
behaviour with respect to migration to Open Office.
In Table 1 below, the meta-frame used in this work is presented.
3. Methodological approach
Markus and Robey (1988) classify the logical structure of scientific research into two types, namely process-based or variationbased research. The latter approach focuses on the variations of the event under analysis, which accrued from the interaction of
several factors. Consequently, the factors that provoke these variations as well as their relationships are analysed.
On the other hand, the process-based approach ascertains the temporal order associated with a range of discrete events that have
occurred, by using a story, case or historical narrative (Huber & van der Veen, 1995; Sun & Zhang, 2006).
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
Table 1
Meta-frame for the analysis of resistance to IS.
Models
Main characteristics
Definitions
Davis (1989) – Technology Acceptance Model
(TAM)
Perception of system utility
Perception of ease of use of the
system
Performance expectancy
Effort expectancy (including
facilitating conditions)
Social influence
Social and political factors
Users are more likely to accept a system when they perceive its utility
and its ease of use.
Venkatesh et al. (2003) – Unified Theory of
Acceptance and Use of Technology model
(UTAUT)
Markus (1983) and Joia et al. (2014) – Model of
interaction of the system with the context of
use
There are four antecedents and four moderators for the intention to use
an IS in an organisation at an individual level, explaining nearly 70% of
variation in the intention to use IS by its potential users.
Organisational characteristics such as structure, culture, power
distribution, politics, and control play a fundamental and decisive role in
the success and failure of implementation of IS, being associated with
individuals, groups, and the organisation.
Some scholars, including Mohr (1982), argue that the two approaches must be set apart, however, according to Gregor (2006,
p.622), Mohr (1982) adopts a controversial argument to support that position.
Conversely, other authors (Huber & van der Veen, 1995) argue that the joint use of the two approaches in Information Systems
(IS) research explain the perceived events in this realm better. The process-based approach addresses the context and the environment in which the IS is implemented (Sun & Zhang, 2006). On the other hand, the variant-based approach isolates and investigates
the factors that have contributed to the trajectory of the process under analysis separately, in other words, the final outcomes of the
introduction of an IS in an organisational setting (Gregor, 2006).
This study investigates the phenomena accrued from the introduction of OSS, namely Open Office, replacing commercial MS
Office software installed and in use by a company, in line with Huber and van der Veen's (1995) ideas. For this reason, it was decided
to examine the implementation trajectory of the Open Office system (a process-based approach), as well as the key success factors
that led to the acceptance or rejection of the system by the company (a factor-based approach).
Moreover, as there is no control over the events during the life cycle of the software implementation and this work addresses a
contemporary undertaking, the case study method is an adequate methodological approach for use in this research (Yin, 2005). Thus,
the unit of analysis of this study is a Brazilian family business with 96 employees, founded in 1980 and operating nationwide as a
producer, retailer and distributor of chemical products derived from petroleum and used in the chemical industry. The company has
an average annual revenue of nearly US$ 20 million. It has 49 PCs in a network with Internet access and Windows XP as the
operational system, which are used to perform administrative tasks by running an ERP system developed internally by the company.
The research collected data from several sources, namely documents, interviews, questionnaires, direct observation, and participant observation as explained below.
The documents analysed comprised e-mails, internal communications and reports, as well as minutes of meetings related to the
adoption of the new system. This was achieved easily, as one of the authors had full access to the documents of the company's IT
Department.
A questionnaire comprising 21 questions was also used to collect data that can be compared with the constructs of the meta-frame
presented. A five-point Likert-based scale was used to elicit answers from the respondents (Carman, 1990). The 21 questions accrued
from works that addressed the three constructs adopted (see Table 1), namely: utility perception/performance expectancy of the
system (Davis, 1989; Venkatesh et al., 2003), perception of ease of use/effort expectancy of the system (Davis, 1989; Venkatesh et al.,
2003), and social influence/social factors (Markus, 1983; Venkatesh et al., 2003). With respect to Markus' ideas (1983), Joia et al.
(2014) operationalized them via a quantitative model in order to test the ideas developed by Markus (1983) associated with resistance to entrepreneurial systems.
Therefore, a nomological network was developed (Trochim, 2005) to orient and analyse the field data obtained via questionnaires
as well as supply a roadmap for conducting the interviews. All of the thirty employees who were directly involved with the off-the
shelf proprietary software answered the questionnaire. Only the employees identified via direct observation who did not need to use
Open Office were discarded. Where the involvement level of the employee with Open Office was not evident, a brief interview was
conducted with same. As the research involved a small sample, non-parametric statistics were used to analyse the data accrued from
the questionnaires (Siegel & Castellan Jr., 2006).
The interviews were conducted according to Yin's premises (2005). The researchers asked the respondents to itemise their interpretation of the events and used them to develop their findings. On average, the interviews lasted thirty minutes and were staged
in October 2014. The interviewees were selected in accordance with their involvement with the software migration project. Preference was given to employees who manifested extreme behaviours with respect to their acceptance/rejection of the new OSS.
Another characteristic observed when selecting the interviewees was their leadership level over their teammates.
The number of interviews was considered to be enough when a sharp convergence in the answers to the questions was achieved,
thereby indicating methodological saturation (Eisenhardt, 1989; Eisenhardt & Graebner, 2007).
Furthermore, direct observation was conducted via informal visits of the authors to the company where OSS was implemented in
order to monitor the Open Office implementation process.
Moreover, participant observation was also heavily used as one of the researchers acted directly in the migration from the
proprietary software to OSS during both the implementation and support stages. This approach generated rare opportunities to
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
collect data as they were detected by a professional of the company rather than by external observers (Yin, 2005).
Therefore, three groups of users were identified by means of direct and participant observation with respect to the use of the new
system, namely “adopters,” “partial adopters” and “non-adopters.”
Then, data accrued from the questionnaire were analysed, in order to establish whether there was significant difference between
the group perceptions in relation to the use of Open Office. The comparison of the group answers was developed by means of the
Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric test (Siegel & Castellan Jr., 2006).
After having analysed the questionnaires, content analysis of the interviews was performed (Bardin, 2000) singling out excerpts
that could support the results obtained by means of other approaches (Richardson, 1999; Yin, 2005). Therefore, as already stated, the
intention was to reproduce Open Office implementation process in the company with respect to its acceptance/rejection, as well as
the key factors associated with the system implementation outcomes, being characterised by the emergence of three groups with
quite different approaches in relation to the implementation of Open Office.
4. Case description
Since the penalty for using non-licensed software in Brazil in 2013 was around 3000 times the cost of the license (Presidência da
República, 1998), the company under analysis decided to tackle the only pending issue it had in this area, namely the 2003 Microsoft
Office automation package. The first option considered was to acquire Microsoft Office licenses, but this alternative was abandoned
since the software was installed in all 49 PCs in the company and it would be very expensive to purchase the licenses.
Once the option to purchase the licenses had been rejected, some alternatives were suggested, one of which was installation of
Open Office. It was then decided to install version 2.2 of this system by the IT Department, which would be in charge of technical
feasibility analysis of the undertaking. After clearance by the IT Department, MS Office was promptly erased from the computers of
all 30 users who used the office automation software and Open Office version 2.2 was installed in their machines without holding a
single meeting or giving advance warning of this measure.
The users did not welcome this attitude, as the reasons for the migration were not clear to them, which led to very negative
reactions. This atmosphere of uncertainty became so hostile that the company director ordered the immediate cancellation of the
migration project. After cancellation, the IT manager decided to schedule a meeting with the other managers to present the implementation project of the new system, seeking to win over support for its installation. In this meeting, seven of the eight managers
revealed their concerns about the use of OSS. Some of them believed that OSS was of poor quality and extremely complex to use,
which would severely jeopardise the performance of daily tasks by the users. All of these doubts were cleared up via demonstration
sessions of Open Office and its features. One month after the first trial, the software was installed again.
After the second installation, only isolated and independent negative reactions were raised against the software adoption, without
the formation of resistance groups. In general, some users expressed dissatisfaction with specific issues related to the use of the new
software.
However, one month after the installation of Open Office, the formation of group resistance began to emerge, inasmuch as users
identified similar complaints, this being a reaction advocated by Lapointe and Rivard (2005) in their work on resistance to IS. As a
result, over the course of time user complaints were presented to the IT Department via groups of users rather than individually.
Another point that contributed to the formation of resistance groups was the way support was provided for the new software.
Initially, support was given in an individual way as and when users expressed their specific concerns about the software and collective complaints were then presented to the IT Department.
After continual user complaints regarding the lack of training in the use of the software prior to its implementation, it was decided
to outsource this activity to a third party company. However, the Human Resources Department was unable to find a company that
could train the employees in the company's facilities – as requested by the board to approve the training – thereby rendering this
endeavour unfeasible.
Moreover, some employees manifested their dissatisfaction with the system, complaining that the software menus and icons were
totally different from those of MS Office and the software layout was poor. This problem was resolved by installing a tool that
changed the layout of the new software, thereby making it similar to that of MS Office. Users also complained about incompatibilities
relating to documents produced in MS Office, as well as the slowness of the new software, which took three times longer to open an
MS Office document.
With the release of Open Office version 3.2, which was immediately installed in the machines, it was noted that the software
layout had been improved with the inclusion of new user-friendly graphical elements. The new software release also improved the
document conversion features – perhaps the major concern of employees – minimising the slowness in the opening of documents, as
the new release included a component for fast initialisation of files.
However, the company became divided into three main groups with different attitudes to the use of Open Office. A group of eight
users (27% of the total) rejected Open Office outright, removing the software from their computers, and using MS Office exclusively.
This group comprised most of the employees from the Quality/Laboratory Department. These employees were major users of MS
Office functions as they used text editor and spreadsheets intensively to produce a series of documents, such as emergency forms,
communication letters to customers and analysis reports. The production of these documents demanded the use of complex and
advanced features available in the word processor and spreadsheet modules of Microsoft Office. The second group, comprising
thirteen users (43% of the total), decided to use Microsoft Office only in an emergency, giving preference to Open Office, showing
commitment to the success of the transition to the new software. Finally, the third group, comprising nine employees (30% of the
total), was the only one to ask for the complete removal of Microsoft Office from their computers. Interestingly, this group was
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
formed by all of the professionals in the Finance Department.
5. Data survey and analysis
The analysis of the decision-making process related to the adoption of OSS in the company under investigation revealed that the
migration process was motivated by financial reasons, as the acquisition of licenses for implementing MS Office in the company was
considered too expensive.
By means of direct observation, it was clear that the sudden removal of MS Office from the computers of users without advance
notice was a serious mistake. The prior perception of users regarding the new system was not taken into consideration, which led to
an immediate and hostile rejection of the new system.
According to an employee in the Commercial Department: “The users had no motivation at all to use Open Office. This lack of
motivation was made more evident when we observed the authoritarian process related to the software implementation in our machines. From
this moment onwards, we had strong reasons for not using the new software as by using it we would be condoning this senseless action.”
Another employee in the Commercial Department who resisted Open Office also supported that the compulsory migration to the
new software generated resistance behaviour, by saying: “On the day of migration, I realised that MS Office had been removed from my
PC. It is absurd that the company did so without disclosing and explaining the rationale behind this initiative to the employees.”
The lack of disclosure was considered by the respondents to be the key factor for the employees' refusal to accept the new
software, supporting what was seen by observation. According to a Chemical Analyst who had not adopted the new software: “The
transition from MS Office to the new software without revealing the reasons for it or extolling the advantages of the new system over the old
system was a dictatorial decision. For that reason, users will always find problems in the new software.”
As already pointed out, direct observation throughout the software implementation revealed that the employees were divided into
three different groups – according to their acceptance and use level of the new software – namely “adopters,” “partial adopters,” and
“non-adopters.”
In order to support what was observed in the field, the users' answers to the questionnaire were analysed via the non-parametric
Kruskal-Wallis test, in order to ascertain whether there was a significant difference among each group's general assessment of the new
software. In this respect, H equal to 25.09 and a p-value of < 0.0001 was obtained. Therefore, the conclusion drawn is that the
hypothesis that there was significant difference in the general assessment of the new software by the three groups could be supported,
confirming what had been observed in the field.
Besides, the answers of the users were also assessed to ascertain whether there was a significant difference in perceptions of users
of different groups in relation to the “perceived utility of the system”/“performance expectancy,” “perceived ease of use of the
system”/“effort expectancy” and “social influence”/“social factors” constructs associated with OSS.
The comparison of the mean average of the answers to the questionnaire in relation to the “perceived utility of the system”/
“performance expectancy” constructs was performed via the Kruskal-Wallis test, obtaining H equal to 21.69 and a p-value
of < 0.0001. Thus, it was concluded that there was a significant difference related to the “perceived utility of the system”/“performance expectancy” constructs between the three groups under analysis, supporting what had been observed in the field.
In accordance with the results, it was observed that the adopter group had a higher perception of system utility when compared to
the other two groups. Correspondingly, the non-adopter group had a lower perception of system utility.
Likewise, the answers related to the “perceived ease of use of the system”/“effort expectancy” constructs were analysed via the
Kruskal-Wallis test, obtaining H equal to 23.32 and a p-value of < 0.0001. Thus, it was concluded that there was significant difference related to the “perceived ease of use of the system” and the “effort expectancy” constructs between the three groups under
analysis, supporting what had been observed in the field.
In accordance with the results, it was observed that the adopter group had a higher perception of ease of use of the system when
compared to the other two groups. In turn, the non-adopter group had a lower perception of ease of use of the system.
Lastly, the answers related to the “social influence”/“social factors” constructs were analysed via the Kruskal-Wallis test, obtaining H equal to 19.96 and a p-value of < 0.0001. Thus, it was determined that there was significant difference related to the
“social influence”/“social factors” constructs between the three groups under scrutiny, supporting what had been observed in the
field.
In accordance with the results, it was observed that the adopter group had a higher social influence perception of the ease of use of
the system when compared to the other two groups. For its part, the non-adopter group had a lower social influence perception of the
ease of use of the system.
By virtue of the fact that the user perceptions regarding the “perceived utility of the system”/“performance expectancy,” “perceived ease of use of the system”/“effort expectancy” and “social influence”/“social factors” constructs presented significant differences between the three groups, it was necessary to ascertain which Open Office characteristics had a heavier impact on user
perceptions – leading to the acceptance/rejection of OSS. Thus, each individual item of the questionnaire was analysed by means of
the Kruskal-Wallis test, thereby enabling the identification of the Open Office characteristics that most influenced users in their
decision to accept/reject OSS.
The results of the analysis pointed to the fact that the following characteristics: software layout, expectation of superiors,
compatibility, ease of learning, functionalities, and software response time were the major antecedents of user behaviour in relation
to accepting/rejecting OSS by the employees, with significant differences between the three groups of users (p-value < 0.0004).
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5.1. Analysis of the non-adopter group
The data analysis revealed that the non-adopters perceived the compatibility of OSS with the extant systems as the major hurdle
to adopting Open Office, as all eight users of this group indicated the minimum score for this item of the questionnaire – which deals
with OSS compatibility with other software. This can be explained by the higher complexity of documents developed by this group,
thereby leading the employees to use several specific features of Microsoft Office.
The Human Resources Department often uses the presentation editor to conduct training sessions. Thus, a Human Resources
analyst identified a compatibility problem with Open Office and declared: “It's impossible to use Open Office to develop any external
training as the fonts are changed, rendering the presentation illegible.” This comment exemplifies an important handicap of Open Office,
which led to a limited perception of the usefulness of the system. The standpoint defended by the Quality Department deputy
manager, also a non-adopter of the system, in relation to Open Office compatibility is quite negative. According to him: “When you use
a complex format in Microsoft Office and open a file with Open Office, formatting errors will arise, obliging you to spend a great deal of time to
fix the problems.”
Participant observation revealed another non-adopter's dissatisfaction, namely whenever it was necessary to send documents to
third parties outside the company, the files produced by Open Office needed to be exported to the MS Office format. This operation
often demanded some changes in the file format, requiring greater user effort perception.
A non-adopter laboratory technician explained her standpoint concerning the unfeasibility of using Open Office: “Nearly 50% of
the text files, spreadsheets and presentations sent by clients do not open correctly in Open Office. Only the simplest files can be opened without
the need for modification. How can I possibly ask the clients to simplify their files before sending them to me? It would be absurd to tell clients
that I do not have a system that can open the files they plan to send me.”
It became abundantly clear that in some cases there was no perfect interface between OSS features and the functions needed by
the users. Sometimes, the users had to revert to the previous software, mainly when they needed to edit the spreadsheets produced in
Open Office, as it had less features than the previous software.
By means of direct observation, as well as interviews, it was seen that the poor layout of OSS highly influenced the perception of
quality/utility of the new system, supporting the results accrued from the questionnaires, namely a significant difference between the
groups in relation to the question regarding the OSS interface (p-value < 0.0001).
The Open Office layout issue was also addressed by a Chemistry Analyst (a non-adopter) in her responses: “I expected that, at the
very least, the new software would be similar to the one I was acquainted with. I was surprised when I used the new software; it seemed as if I
had returned to MS Office circa 1995.” Indeed, this comment points to a strong relationship between the new software's aesthetics and
the perception of its quality. Although the user supported that she was going back to Microsoft Office circa 1995, she never made a
comparative analysis of the functions of the software. Thus, after having opened OSS and realised that its layout was outdated, she
immediately experienced a sensation of loss of quality, as the poor graphic interface of OSS was associated with its features. That
feeling might be minimised if the OSS interface was similar to the commercial off-the-shelf software, as supported by the assistant
accountant when he said: “Open Office should mimic the layout of Microsoft Office, which would render the use of Open Office much easier.”
Besides, some users are accustomed to use certain features of the previous system merely by clicking on their icons. When using
the new system, due to the new layout, these users are lost and do not know where to find the features they traditionally used.
Also related to the software layout, the Quality Manager, a non-adopter, argued that “One of the major barriers to Open Office lies in
the fact that its icons are depicted in the screen in a different way when compared to MS Office. Furthermore, some icons have totally different
captions when compared to those of MS Office, which people are acquainted with.”
The question concerning the features of the newly adopted software was also seen as a barrier to the use of Open Office according
to the non-adopters. The deputy accountant raised a very appropriate point, as according to him the Open Office spreadsheet is far
less powerful than that of MS Office, which has several statistical functions available. As this professional is a frequent user of
documents that use statistical functions, he was obliged to set aside Open Office when performing his duties. He made the following
comment: “By adopting Open Office the company is spending more money on me as I am now obliged to make many calculations on my
electronic calculator. This expense could be avoided by maintaining MS Office.” Thus, it was seen that the functional limitation of OSS led
to a lower perception of utility by users.
Possibly the most significant example of rejection of the new system among the employees, the Quality Manager, made the
following comment about the system's functionalities: “The gain accrued from the implementation of Open Office is the only positive point
in this endeavour. The final presentation of the files produced by it is quite poor; the page formatting is very complex; the graphical resources
leave a great deal to be desired; it takes a long time to accomplish a task; the spreadsheet doesn't arrange the cells in an adequate way, etc. In
short, it's still impossible to use open source software to develop complex tasks.”
Direct observation makes it possible to identify the major source of complaints, namely the spell checker. The MS Office spell
checker is very complete, offering solutions both in grammar and spelling terms even suggesting synonyms for the words typed by the
users, as well as automatic correction. Conversely, the Open Office spell checker is very basic and does not offer grammar solutions
for the texts typed. According to a non-adopter salesperson: “With Microsoft Office it was very easy to type a text, as I didn't have to worry
about accents as Word inserted them automatically. As I was accustomed to that, the new documents I have produced using Open Office
contained errors. This is the reason why I don't use the new system.”
By direct observation, it was clear that the above limitation led to a lack of motivation among some users, leading them not to use
other functions. The consequence of this was user unawareness of the other OSS functions, leading them to abandon the system.
The interviews with the non-adopter group revealed that the users did not perceive any social influence to adopt OSS. According
to the Quality Manager: “My boss does not care whether or not I have used the new software and I will not be promoted for that reason,
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
provided that I have performed my tasks adequately, which is almost impossible using Open Office.”
The comments accrued from the questionnaires showed that the managers of the professionals belonging to the non-adopter group
did not expect their employees to use the adopted software. Moreover, strong leadership against the use of OSS was found within the
non-adopter group, a role mainly played by the Quality Manager. This professional was very dissatisfied due to factors not related to
the software adoption and ended up expressing his frustration with the new software. Over time, it was possible to see that this
feeling was disseminated among his employees, who manifested similar dissatisfaction with OSS.
Once there was low perception of utility/performance expectancy and ease of use/effort expectancy related to the new software,
as well as no social influence to use it, the non-adopter group became totally resistant to Open Office.
5.2. Analysis of the partial adopter group
Analysis of the responses of the partial adopter group showed that the question related to the ease of use of the system had a
relatively low average (2.385). This can be explained by the scant knowledge that this group had about IT. Consequently, this group
felt the lack of training on the use of the system.
Thus, direct observation, as well as interviews, showed that most of the partial adopters requested training. These users did not
reject the new software, but they became insecure about using it due to the lack of a formal training program conducted before the
implementation of Open Office.
In contrast with the non-adopter group, OSS compatibility did not seem to have heavily impacted the use of same by the partial
adopter group. An explanation for this lies in the characteristics of the documents this group needs to produce. In general, these
documents are quite simple, being produced in a straightforward manner by the users without the need to use advanced features of
MS Office.
As the partial adopter group had a limited knowledge of IT, they often called for technical support. However, participant observation showed that after the adoption of Open Office, the technical support requests associated with stability problems in this
system were greatly reduced, thereby allowing the IT support professionals to perform other tasks.
The question with the highest score given by the partial adopters was related to dealing with errors in Open Office. In relation to
this, a user from the Foreign Trade Department made the following statement: “I was already tired of calling for support when the
message ‘WINWORD.exe with errors will be shut down by Windows’ appeared. The ‘program needs to be rebooted’ also popped up. I had
already tried to do whatever was possible without finding a solution for this. So, I started to save my work every two minutes. Only after the
installation of Open Office was I able to work without fear of losing my work.”
Besides, the Foreign Trade assistant, a partial adopter, had her perceived utility minimised by perceived effort, as: “one cannot
affirm that software is useful if one wastes more than 30 minutes merely to insert a figure in a simple text document, whereas the same
operation took a couple of minutes with the previous system.”
Throughout the interviews with the partial adopter group, two functions were described as being difficult to execute in the new
software, namely editing figures and the formatting of tables. However, it became clear that these difficulties accrued from the lack of
user ability to perform these activities in the new software rather than from an Open Office limitation.
The inventory officer, a partial adopter, stated in the following statement related to the aforementioned issue: “In Microsoft Office,
one needs to click once on the figure for it to be formatted as one wants. Conversely, in Open Office, I need to browse in three menus to perform
the same operation, which means that I waste time.”
The change in the way of performing actions was also cited by an employee from the Industrial Department. According to this
professional: “Open Office may well offer features as powerful as the ones in the MS Office, yet they aren't practical enough to be used or even
located.”
A partial adopter from the Commercial Department mentioned his difficulty in using the new software: “Once, I was on the phone
with a customer and was obliged to ask him to return the call later as I wasn't able to format a quotation template.”
Unlike the adopter and non-adopter groups, the effective presence of a leader influencing the behaviour of the members of the
partial adopter group cannot be perceived.
As there was a moderate perception of utility/performance expectancy, ease of use/effort expectancy, and social influence associated with the use of OSS, the partial adopters relied on the new software to perform tasks for which mastery of the OSS' features
was not necessary. For the other tasks, the extant software was used.
5.3. Analysis of the adopter group
Unlike the other groups, analysis of the questionnaires, observations and interviews revealed that the adopter group evaluated the
compatibility, ease of use and layout of the new software positively. It is important to stress that in general the adopters had expertise
in IT and used less complex files than the others, which might have mitigated problems associated with document compatibility.
During the interviews, the Commercial Manager – an adopter – made the following remark regarding file compatibility: “It's
impossible to deny the compatibility problems that are still present when I access Open Office files created in Microsoft Office; yet it is possible
to live with these problems by making a few adjustments.”
Another characteristic of the adopters that emerged in the interviews was their use of the new software due to its quality rather
than to an obligation to do so. A user affirmed: “I use Open Office as I don't perceive any difference in the quality of my work when using it
or Microsoft Office. People complain about open software purely because they don't know how to use it.”
The Financial Manager singled out an important characteristic of OSS related to its ease of use – a characteristic that most of the
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
users of the new system disagreed with: “Some say that only paid software is good, but Open Office challenged this allegation, proving to be
just as good as that of its competitor. The program is functional and simpler than Microsoft Office.”
The Accounts Payable assistant said: “In the beginning, there were some hurdles that could have discouraged novice users. However, after
learning how to use the system everything became quite straightforward. The Internet can be used to solve problems, as there are several online
communities devoted to providing support to the Open Office user community.”
An Accounting Analyst and adopter of the new system praised its features as follows: “I'm in charge of creating several reports. They
used to be created using Microsoft Office electronic spreadsheet software and then converted via an outsourced tool to the PDF format. By
adopting Open Office, any errors accrued from this conversion process are a thing of the past, as the new software has this feature embedded in
its source code.”
Once the adopters had the opportunity to explore the new software in depth, they identified a larger amount of features than the
other two groups. Thus, they assessed the functionality aspect as being better when compared with the other users.
Another important characteristic of the adopter group was its perception that OSS had superior or similar technical features
compared to MS Office, unlike the other users who saw the free software as having been developed with little concern for quality.
Furthermore, the Financial Manager played the role of leader in the adopter group fully endorsing the use of the new software.
Over the course of time, the Financial Manager's leadership was so clearly established that professionals from other departments
contacted him to resolve any pending Open Office issues.
As there was a higher perception of utility/performance expectancy, ease of use/effort expectancy and social influence related to
the use of the free software, the adopters were prone to use same, which increased the intention of use of the new software.
6. Discussion
As can be seen from the results presented, the migration trajectory from MS Office to Open Office was different in the three
groups, leading to distinct outcomes. It can be verified that the interaction of Open Office features with the groups' characteristics and
activities, as well as the type of leadership unveiled in the groups influenced the migration trajectory process.
For instance, the non-adopter group perceived some characteristics of OSS as critical inhibitors to its use, namely: compatibility
with the legacy systems, system functionalities, and system layout. This fact added to the group's characteristics of developing
complex documents by using sophisticated system features, as well as severe leadership against the use of OSS jeopardized the final
outcome, leading to the abandonment of OSS.
On the other hand, the partial adopter group perceives both negative (ease of use and learning) and positive (error treatment)
features in OSS. This fact added to the group's characteristics (lack of training, low level of informatics, and development of simple
documents), besides the lack of leadership for or against OSS led this group to switch from MS Office to Open Office according to the
working circumstances.
Finally, the adopter group perceived several advantages in using OSS, some of them considered to be barriers to use of OSS by the
non-adopter group, namely system ease of use and layout, as well as its compatibility with the legacy systems. This fact added to the
characteristics of the group based on the development of simple documents and a good command of informatics, besides a strong
leadership for the use of OSS led this group to fully implement and use OSS in their computers.
Fig. 1. Trajectory of implementation of Open Office in the non-adopter group.
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Fig. 2. Trajectory of implementation of Open Office in the partial adopter group.
Therefore, it is possible to consolidate the migration trajectory to OSS by depicting these three groups' behaviours in Figs. 1, 2 and
3.
From the aforementioned figures, one can clearly see that initial perceptions of employees about OSS concerning its utility and
impact on performance, ease of use and effort expectancy, as well as the social influence to use same trigger the IS resistance process.
Thus, this attitude of employees vis-à-vis the use of OSS was either enhanced or prejudiced according to the role of leadership, which
functioned as an agent of change in this realm. After having adopted their positions concerning the use of the software, the employees
sought justifications for their decisions by assessing the characteristics of OSS vis-à-vis their own personal and professional characteristics, being dependant on professional expertise to use the software and the type of tasks to be performed in their functions.
All these steps can be observed in Figs. 1, 2 and 3, wherein the migration process from MS Office to Open Office can be better
understood. In these figures, Open Office implementation is represented both in terms of the critical success factors (factor-based
approach) and the trajectory development over time (process-based approach), as suggested by Gregor (2006) and Sun and Zhang
(2006), respectively.
Based on the above, besides supporting that well-established antecedents of IS adoption and implementation (Table 1) can also be
applied to Open Office implementation, namely utility and performance expectation perceptions, ease of use and effort expectation
perceptions, and social influence perception, this study also sets forth some specific propositions derived from the implementation of
Fig. 3. Trajectory of implementation of Open Office in the adopter group.
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L.A. Joia, L.C. dos Santos Vinhais
Open Office, which are listed below to be further tested, namely:
P1: The type of tasks professionals are expected to develop in their organisation is an antecedent to the adoption and use of Open
Office by them;
P2: The professional expertise of employees to use Open Office is an antecedent to the adoption and use of Open Office by them;
P3: Positive leadership of managers in favor of the use of Open Office is an antecedent to the adoption and use of same by their
employees.
The first proposition addresses the importance of task-technology fit associated with the implementation of Open Office (as also
argued by D'Ambra, Wilson, & Akter, 2013); the second proposition tackles the effects of employees' training in the use of Open Office
(as also set forth by Gallego et al., 2015); and, finally, the third proposition addresses the moderating role of leadership on the
acceptance of Open Office (as also claimed by Ke & Wei, 2008).
7. Conclusions
By adopting a joint factor-based and process-based approach, this article emphasizes that companies must not be viewed as a
homogeneous set of employees in a process of migration from proprietary to open source software. In other words, the type of work
performed by professionals, as well as the complexity level, the capability to use technological tools and the relevance of the work
done electronically for the senior administration must be seriously addressed in a transition to OSS. Indeed, the lack of attention to
these characteristics ended up splitting the company under analysis into three different groups with respect to the adoption/rejection
of Open Office. Besides, one cannot disregard the important role of leadership (either positive or negative) in the success/failure of
implementation of OSS.
In addition to this, the difficulty to explain how individual resistance to Open Office was transformed into group resistance to it,
which was ascribed to the role of (positive or negative) leadership in the groups in this research, must be highlighted. The trajectory
of resistance to an information system from an individual level to a group level, and from there to an organisational level, must be
examined in greater depth, as supported by Lapointe and Rivard (2005).
Moreover, while the company is of medium size and all thirty potential users of Open Office answered the questionnaire, the
resulting number of replies led to the use of non-parametric statistics tests – less robust than parametric statistics tests – allowing the
scales to be adapted without validation from the reference sources that developed them, as already explained.
The results accrued from this work can be used in further similar studies in order that the outcomes can be challenged or
supported. Among these further studies, one can cite the use of other units of analysis based on larger samples and/or other OSS, such
as the Linux operational system that has attracted new users and companies of sundry sectors and sizes.
In the final analysis, this work set out to provide knowledge that can be used by managers and IT professionals associated with
migration projects to OSS. While planning and developing such projects, these professionals could take the migration process and the
success factors identified in this research into consideration, making it possible to avoid problems during the migration process from a
proprietary to an open platform.
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