Examining the determinants of effort among open source software volunteer developers

Chorng–Guang Wu, James H. Gerlach, Clifford E. Young
International Journal of Information and Decision Sciences, Vol 5 No. 2/2013

This study explores the relationships between open source software (OSS) volunteer developers’ motivations, commitment to the OSS community and effort spent on OSS development. The study considers multiple extrinsic and intrinsic motivations that are expected to influence developer effort, and also measures the extent to which developers commit themselves to the OSS community, which in turn is expected to cause them to exert effort on behalf of OSS projects. The model is empirically tested using a field survey of OSS volunteers. The results show that the major motivational forces driving OSS volunteer developers’ effort are helping others (intrinsic motivator), fun for coding (intrinsic motivator) and peer recognition (extrinsic motivator), while developer commitment has a direct and significant effect on their effort decisions. Findings also suggest that time availability moderates the relationship between commitment and effort.