An investigation into the factors influencing the adoption of open source software in Zimbabwe public organisations
Taruvinga, Bright Martin
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This study investigated the factors that influence the adoption of open source software in public organisations that are in Zimbabwe. Open source software is software that gives access to the underlying source code that make up that software for free to manipulate, copy and distribute. This is a working characterisation of OSS and a more strict definition of OSS will be discussed in the study. OSS is an interesting phenomenon in that although it is provided free of cost and has negligible licensing costs, its adoption has been minimal. Hence this study seeks to find out the factors that influence its adoption in an attempt to influence its adoption. The main proposition of the study was that OSS is an economically viable innovation for public organisations to adopt in order to enhance employee productivity and improve the organisational efficiency. This is in spite of criticisms that OSS lacks accountability and as such there is no guarantee of its existence in the future. A qualitative methodology was adopted for this study in order to gain deep understanding of the factors that influence the adoption of OSS. The research strategy used was a case study of three public organisations in different economic sectors. The respondents were drawn from IT and non-IT managers that are involved in the decision making and implementation of IT innovations. Data was collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews. The key findings of the study were that the critical factors that influence OSS adoption in public organisations are security and stability, understanding technical functionality, ability to meet basic requirements, cost, and organisational culture. The implications of these findings is that it will assist organisations to make OSS adoption decisions as it gives the clear guidelines on which factors to consider as they adopt open source solutions. Having this knowledge may motivate the adoption of OSS.