Analyzing Leadership Dynamics in Distributed Group Communication

TitleAnalyzing Leadership Dynamics in Distributed Group Communication
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsCrowston, Kevin, Wiggins Andrea, and Howison James
Secondary Title2010 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2010)
Pagination1 - 10
Place PublishedHonolulu, Hawaii, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4244-5509-6
Keywordscore, DYNAMICS, email, email archives, fire, flossmole, gaim, leadership, mailing list, project success, social network analysis, srda

We apply social network analysis (SNA) to examine the dynamics of leadership in distributed groups, specifically Free/Libre Open Source Software development projects, and its relation to group performance. Based on prior work on leadership in distributed groups, we identify leaders with those who make the highest level of contribution to the group and assess the degree of leadership by measuring centralization of communications. We compare the dynamics of leadership in two FLOSS projects, one more and one less effective. We find that in both projects, centralization was higher in developer-oriented communications venues than in user-oriented venues, suggesting higher degrees of leadership in developer venues. However, we do not find a consistent relation between centralization and effectiveness. We suggest that SNA can instead be useful for identifying interesting periods in the history of the project, e.g., periods where the leadership of the project is in transition.


"Our analysis examines the communication patterns in two FLOSS development projects, Fire and Gaim"
"These data were imported into a database to allow automated analysis. The Fire data set includes about 1,800 events in the user email list, 7,800 messages in the developer venues, and 1,300 events in the combined trackers, spanning a period of 54 months. The significantly larger Gaim data set included over 41,000 events in the user forum, over 30,000 events in the developer venues, and about 20,000 events in the trackers, generated over 78 months."
"The dynamic network analysis was performed using a scientific workflow tool, Taverna Workbench"

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