Toward an Enacted Approach to Understanding OSS Developer's Motivations


  • Meissonier Régis
  • Bourdon Isabelle
  • Houze Emmanuel
  • Boudrandi Stephane


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    A large part of the existing literature on Open Source Software (OSS) projects identifies the motivation factors predicting the participation level of members. However, the effective satisfaction of developers toward their project still remains a managerial and theoretical challenge. So, it is also consistent to assess how the effective participation of developers in OSS projects makes sense of their own motivations. This article uses the enactivist approach and considers that motivations are not simple antecedents to actions but are shaped by actions as well. The empirical analysis delivers the results of a survey administrated to participants of business OSS projects. The results reveal reputation, reciprocity and expected professional opportunities as the most positively influenced variables. However, learning motivations and ideology toward open source beliefs and values are the lesser influenced ones. These results counterbalance prior empirical researches which have observed a strong predicting power of both variables on expected participation level of participants. This study suggests that participation seems to make sense regarding motivations for which developers have some visible indicators of their personal achievement.

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