As design and development evolves within open communities, new affordances present new possibilities and organizations must balance 'contributions to' and 'differentiation from' the open community for reasons of cost, resource management, and time to market. Organizational participation in open communities is timely in light of recent analyses by the Linux Foundation indicating that 75% of kernel contributions are by paid developers. In this proposal, we build on principles of public sharing and collaboration using the Linux open-source community as our basis for understanding open communities (Fitzgerald, 2006). The focus of this project is why organizations participate with open communities and how they participate with open communities. We apply action research as a methodological approach within which a qualitative field study will be conducted (Chiasson et al., 2009). Action research supports our dual goal of developing a solution to a practical problem which is of value to the people with whom we are working, while at the same time developing theoretical knowledge of value to an academic community involved in research and pedagogy (Mathiassen et al., 2009). We found organizational participation to be primarily derived from the leveraged support, contribution to, and differentiation from open communities.