This older essay is still very interesting and worth reading as a primer on peer governance.
“This paper examines the latest of paradigms – the ‘Virtual Network(ed) Organisation’ and whether geographically dispersed knowledge workers can virtually collaborate for a project under no central planning. Co-ordination, management and the role of knowledge arise as the central areas of focus. The Linux Project and its virtual decentralised development model are selected as an appropriate case of analysis and the critical success factors of this organisational design are identified.
The study proceeds to the formulation of a managerial framework that can be applied to all kinds of virtual decentralised work and concludes that value creation is maximized when there is intense interaction and uninhibited sharing of information between the organisation and the surrounding community. Therefore, the potential success or failure of this organisational paradigm depends on the degree of dedication and involvement by the surrounding community.
In addition, the paper discusses the strengths and implications of adopting the organisational model represented by the Linux Project in other industries.”