Managing the information commons: Design principles of information system as a common-pool resource


  • Serge Amabilé CERGAM Faculté d'Economie et de Gestion Aix Marseille Université
  • Adrien Pénéranda LEREPS, Sciences Po Toulouse, Université de Toulouse
  • Coralie Haller HUMANIS (EA 7308), Ecole de Management de Strasbourg, Université de Strasbourg



Collective action, Shared information, Organizational design, Governance, Communal resource.


The study of the commons managed by self-organized communities is a growing matter of interest in the governance of institutions for collective action research field. The attribution of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Elinor Ostrom in 2009 has confirmed the richness of the contribution of the Bloomington school on this topic. Ostrom’s work led to discover several design principles shared by governance systems of common-pool resources that have been successful in the long term. These principles, when present, promote cooperation among groups of appropriators of the resource. The findings of the Bloomington school have proven their relevance beyond the sole physical resources systems. Hess and Ostrom have called the scientific community to take an interest in the collective management of knowledge seen as a shared resource. This paper proposes to answer this call by exploring the possibilities of adapting the analytical framework of the commons situations of cooperation in which players manage pooled information. The research question aims to study how the actors can self-organize through sustainable institutions to manage the production and use of common knowledge. The qualitative research methodology used was tested through five case studies. The results show that the cooperation inside self-organized group which apply Ostrom’s design principles seems to lead to a sustainable and efficient management of information resources.





Empirical research