The Role of Individuals and Social Capital in POSIX Standardization

The Role of Individuals and Social Capital in POSIX Standardization

Jim Isaak
DOI: 10.4018/jitsr.2006010101
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While standards are issued by organizations, individuals do the actual work, with significant collaboration required to agree on a common standard. This article explores the role of individuals in standards setting as well as the way these individuals are connected to one another through trusting networks and common values. This issue is studied in the context of the IEEE POSIX set of standards, for which the author was actively involved for more than 15 years. This case study demonstrates that the goals and influence of individual participants are not just that of their respective employers but may follow the individual through changes of employment. It also highlights changes in the relative importance of individual and corporate influence in Unix-related standardization over time. Better understanding of the interaction between individuals and organizations in the context of social capital and standardization can provide both a foundation for related research and more productive participation in these types of forums.

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