Leadership

The Mirroring Hypothesis: Theory, Evidence And Exceptions

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Executive Summary

The mirroring hypothesis predicts that the organizational patterns of a development project will correspond to the technical patterns of dependency in the system under development. Scholars in a range of disciplines have argued that mirroring is either necessary or a highly desirable feature of development projects, but evidence pertaining to the hypothesis is widely scattered across fields, research sites, and methodologies. In this paper, the authors formally define the mirroring hypothesis and review 102 empirical studies spanning three levels of organization: within a single firm, across firms, and in open community-based development projects.

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