4.3. Limitations and Future Research

Few limitations of this study along with questions for future research should be noted. There are clearly many interesting puzzles in the OSS research projects that could trigger the interest of academics for years to come. Given the freshness of the topic, it is clear that several gaps in this research will be recognised.

First of all, this research did not dig very deeply in the role of communities in stimulating user entrepreneurship: for example why there are new projects which are not commercialized even if they show a high degree of innovativeness, usefulness and there is high interest in it shown by the OSH communities.

In addition, further research could analyse how OSH may foster social entrepreneurship in developing countries as well as how OSH might increase the access of small communities to physical goods in emerging economies given the changes going on in manufacturing.

Moreover, in this research any possible (and for the moment not expected) threat of legal controversy that might be raised by big multinationals was ignored. It should be kept in mind that such a controversy can affect the industry as happened in case of Linux. In fact, OSH companies are becoming bigger, eroding some markets which results in established company losing their market share. Large multinational firms can afford long legal proceedings which are started with the aim of discouraging OSH in cases when the property rights protection is very low. In the future a risk of legal controversies that might be raised by incumbents losing bargaining power cannot be excluded.

Furthermore, the three business models proposed can be validated in future research that can employ a larger sample analyzing in depth each suggested model.

In addition, it is recommended to investigate the way in which users become profit-oriented entrepreneurs, to analyze the intrinsic reasons which force users to build a firm rather than collaborate with established companies and to define the personal characteristics of such users. This kind of research would be beneficial not only for internal actors in the OSH ecosystem but also for financial institutions and policy makers who want to support OS and entrepreneurial activities, which positive impact on the economic growth has been largely discussed by previous studies.

Lastly, as Banzi always pointed out, it would be interesting to study how to coordinate the combination of the Italian design, technology and brand management: elements abundantly in the country of Arduino, in order to create new unexplored markets.

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