Understanding Open Source Developers' Motivations from their Participation

Régis MEISSONIER, Isabelle BOURDON, Emmanuel HOUZE, Serge AMABILE, Stéphane BOUDRANDI

Abstract


A large part of the existing literature on Open Source projects identified the motivation factors predicting the participation of members. However, these incentives do not ensure a sustained participation level. Most of the members leave projects when their personal needs are satisfied and, as a consequence, a lot of projects are aborted or abandoned before the beta version software has been distributed Indeed, most of open source projects are aborted or abandoned because failing into keeping enough active members. So, the initial aforementioned research question worth to be reversed in order to apprehend how the participation level influences the way OS projects members make sense of their own motivations. The objective of this article is to use the enactivist approach and to consider that motivations are not simple antecedents to actions but are shaped by actions as well (here the participation). The quantitative analysis delivers the results of a survey administrated to participants of business OS projects. The results reveal that reputation, reciprocity and professional opportunities expected are the most influenced variables by the participation. However, learning motivations and ideology toward OS beliefs and values are the less influenced ones. This results counterbalance prior empirical researches which had observed a strong predicting power of both variables on expected participation level of participants. This is tends to show participation as making sense to motivations whom members have practical indicators for their self-assessment.

Keywords


open source, motivations, participation, attitude, implication.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v15i2.307