The Effects of Extrinsic Motivations and Satisfaction in Open Source Software Development

Weiling Ke, Ping Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


As a new phenomenon in the software industry, Open Source Software (OSS) development has attracted a high level of research interest. Examining what motivates participants in OSS projects and how to enhance the effects of motivations has received increased attention in recent years. This study is prompted by the significant but detail-lacking examination of differential effects of various types of extrinsic motivations on participants' task effort in OSS projects and their interaction effects with participants' psychological states. Drawing upon self-determination theory, we establish four types of extrinsic motivations in OSS communities (i.e., external, introjected, identified, and integrated motivation) and investigate how these types affect task effort differently. Also, integrating self-determination theory with affective event theory, we study how satisfaction of needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness moderates the relationships between extrinsic motivations and task effort. The research model is largely supported by data from 250 participants in various OSS projects. Theoretical contribution and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-808
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2010


  • Motivation
  • Open source software development
  • Satisfaction of needs
  • Task effort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


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