A study of Mozilla Corp.’s efforts to manage a diverse base of both paid employees and volunteers has won the second annual Berkeley-Haas Case Series Best Case Award.
Presented Sept. 30 by Dean Rich Lyons, the Best Case Award was created to raise awareness for the Berkeley-Haas Case Series and promote excellence in case writing that showcases unconventional management strategies and disruptive trends.
Homa Bahrami, a senior lecturer in the Haas School’s Management of Organizations Group, wrote the winning case on Mozilla, creator of the open source browser Firefox.
In her 2013 research, People Operations at Mozilla Corporation: Scaling a Peer-to-Peer Global Network, Bahrami examined Mozilla Vice President Debbie Cohen’s key initiatives to manage employees and contributors from many diverse countries and backgrounds. Bahrami’s paper was published in the Fall 2013 issue of the California Management Review.
As Bahrami notes in her research, Mozilla is unlike many other organizations because of its open source environment and its founding commitment in 1998 (at Netscape, where Mozilla began as an internal project) to development through open community participation. Thirty to 40 percent of Mozilla’s code was created by contributors consisting of paid staff and volunteers – all working toward a common objective.
When Cohen arrived in April 2011, the organization had doubled in size from 257 to 537 employees and had some unique workplace challenges. Cohen needed to gain credibility within Mozilla by addressing the relationships between paid staff and unpaid contributors, including volunteer coders, testers, community builders, marketers, teachers, and evangelizers.
The case study includes a detailed analysis of how Cohen created people-oriented initiatives, and successfully developed a culture of distributed leadership within Mozilla’s global developer community, which remains today a staff of 1,100 and millions of volunteers around the world.
In its second year, the Berkeley-Haas Best Case Award provides recognition for the case study published during the preceding year that has made the most important contribution to management education.
The Berkeley-Haas Case Series, launched in February 2012, includes more than 40 case studies in a variety of disciplines, ranging from entrepreneurship and finance to human resources management and international business.