The Impact of Ideology on Effectiveness in Open Source Software Development Teams

TitleThe Impact of Ideology on Effectiveness in Open Source Software Development Teams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsStewart, K, Gosain, S
Secondary TitleMIS Quarterly
Date Published2006
Keywordsbug fixing, bug reports, bug tracking, communication, COMMUNITY, effectiveness, feature requests, ideology, metadata, sourceforge, Survey, team effort, team size, trust

The emerging work on understanding open source software has argued for the importance of understanding what leads to effectiveness in OSS development teams and has pointed to the importance of ideology. This paper develops a framework of the OSS ideology (including specific norms, beliefs, and values) and a theoretical model to show how adherence to components of the ideology impact effectiveness in OSS teams. The model is based on the idea that ideology provides clan control, which is important in OSS development settings because OSS teams generally lack formal behavioral and outcome controls. The paper hypothesizes both direct effects of ideology on OSS team effectiveness and indirect effects via influences on affective trust, cognitive trust, and communication quality. Hypotheses are tested using survey and objective data on OSS projects. Four effectiveness measures are used to capture unique aspects of effectiveness in OSS including both the extent to which a team attracts input from the community and the team's success in accomplishing project outcomes. Results support the main thesis that OSS team members' adherence to the tenets of the OSS community ideology enhances OSS team effectiveness. The study uncovers several differences in the importance of OSS norms, beliefs, and values to different kinds of OSS team effectiveness and discusses implications for theory and practice.


"...we collected data related to OSS projects hosted on Sourceforge ("
"Data was collected using two surveys and from the Sourceforge website."

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