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Motivating job design as a factor in open source governance

  • Guido Hertel

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    Successful open source software (OSS) projects can be considered as examples of how ambitious work results can be achieved in web-based collaboration even when monetary incentives are low or absent. While former explorations of motivational processes in OSS projects primarily focused on person-oriented aspects such as motives, interests, and expected benefits of contributors, job-related factors have been largely neglected. After discussing the limitations of a person-oriented focus, a research perspective is suggested that concentrates on job design and work context in OSS based on frameworks from work psychology. A theoretical analysis is presented discussing job characteristics of successful OSS projects as potential explanations of the high motivation of OSS contributors. Compared to a person-oriented perspective, the results of a job-oriented approach might be better transferable to other projects (both OSS and “closed source” software development) and provide guidelines for the governance of successful web-based collaboration. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10997-007-9023-8
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Management & Governance.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 129-137

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:11:y:2007:i:2:p:129-137
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    1. Margit Osterloh & Jetta Frost & Bruno Frey, 2002. "The Dynamics of Motivation in New Organizational Forms," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 61-77.
    2. Hertel, Guido & Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie, 2003. "Motivation of software developers in Open Source projects: an Internet-based survey of contributors to the Linux kernel," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
    3. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
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