Ethics essentially “refers to the issues of right, wrong, fairness and justice.” Clearly, examples such as Enron, WorldCom, and even Conrad Black tested society’s views on sound ethical business and the link to what society sees as “good” governance practices.
The SPSE listing rules Section 6.42 require all listed companies to comply with the corporate governance code as stipulated under the Reserve Bank of Fiji (hereafter RBF) corporate governance principles and reporting guidelines (SPSE, 2010).
The solution is to adopt a governance model that provides mechanisms for clearly defining and enforcing the boundaries of acceptability within the project. The model should be designed to allow project leaders to avoid unnecessary and wasteful diversions by potentially rogue elements within the community. The model must also ensure that those with aligned strategies can undertake complimentary work in a collaborative and constructive way. This kind of collaboration broadens the scope of the project without significantly increasing the demands on the originating project team.
The fear that a governance model will constrain the project as it adapts to a changing environment may be attributed to the fact that there are many poorly governed open source projects that are indeed limited in their agility. However, the problem is caused by the lack of a clear governance model rather than the provision of one. A good governance model will actually increase the agility of the project, as it defines how new contributors can take the project in unexpected directions without interfering with its core goals. It provides a mechanism for allowing the community as a whole to define the direction they feel the project should take, while ensuring that the core project team does not lose control. The issue of control is discussed in the next section; here we will focus on vision and direction.
According to Lipman (2006), good corporate governance helps to prevent corporate scandals, fraud, and potential civil and criminal liability of the organization (p.
Governance models range from centralised control by a single individual or organisation (benevolent dictatorship) to distributed control awarded in recognition of contributions (meritocracy). You can find governance models at any point along this spectrum; it is also possible for a project’s chosen governance model to move along this spectrum as the project matures. The diagram below illustrate some examples FOSS projects and where they fall on the scale. They also illustrate the whether the project encourages a contributions from broad sources (bazaar-style) or have a small core of dedicated contributions (cathedral style). For more about these contribution models, read Eric Raymon’s essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar. It’s interesting to note that a particular governance style doesn’t automatically imply a particular contribution model, although projects do tend to start as cathedral-style benevolent dicatotorships and move towards bazaar-style contribution or meritocratic-style governance (or both) as they mature.