Exploring Motivations for Contributing

Oreg, S., & Nov, O. (2007). Exploring motivations for contributing to open source initiatives: The roles of contribution context and personal values.

Software contribution requires expertise where as content contribution does not.

Goal
What type of open source context activates certain types of motivation?
Who are the contributors and when/where do motivations to contribute arise?

Hypothesis
Motivation to contribute to open source software is different than motivation to contribute to open source content

Open Source Contribution Motivations
Intrinsic (inherent satisfaction) and extrinsic motivations (rewards greater than costs)

Motivation degrees
High: desire to establish reputation and gain approval
Mid-range: desire for self-development through learning
Low: altruism, desire to help other in the community

Hypothesis
_____ will be higher among open source software contributors than among content ones.
Reputation-building motivation levels
Self-development motivation levels
Altruism motivation levels

There will be a positive correlation between ___ values and the ___ motivation for contributing:
achievement; reputation-building
self-direction; self-development
benevolence; altruistic
universalism; altruistic

10 Motivational Goals (Schartz)
Power, Achievement, Hedonism, Stimulation, Self-direction, Universalism, Benevolence, Tradition, Conformity, Security.

Results
Software context participants higher on reputation-building & self-development.
Content context higher in altruism.

All hypothesis were correct and no controls altered findings.

Reputation building was negatively related to reputation-building
Reputation building was positively related to altruism

Conclusion
Understanding differences in motivation can help software and content projects utilize the open source model.

Open source software might want to highlight aspects of learning and recognitions

Content-based projects may want to highlight aspects of reciprocity and altruism, such as benefit to the community

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