Two academic management researchers, Siobhán O'Mahony and Fabrizion Ferraro, performed a detailed scientific study about Debian Project governance and social organization from the management perspective.
Read it here
The authors identified four phases to the evolution of Debians governance system:
De facto Governance (1993 1996);
Designing Governance (1997 1999);
Implementing Governance (1999 2003); and
Stabilizing Governance (2003 2006).
The research provides two distinct theoretical contributions.
First, the authors clarify earlier speculation about how production communities organize and find evidence of a limited form of bureaucracy that is more enabling than it is coercive.
Second, the authors show that even in a community of open source programmers that espouses the value of technical contributions above all else, members conceptions of leadership change over time to increasingly value organization building contributions.