Determinants of continuous intention of contributors to open-source software projects : definition and empirical testing of the open-source software work characteristics theory
Open-source software (OSS) nowadays holds a very large share of the software market. Furthermore, a great number of companies save millions of Dollars by using open-source instead of proprietary software. Additionally, many governmental and educational institutions, alongside millions of private users, profit financially by using open source software, e.g. the operative system Linux, instead of a proprietary software, such as Microsoft's Windows or Apple's OS X. With this increasing economic power of OSS the number of articles related to the topic has increased steadily. Nowadays OSS has become a topic in a variety of research disciplines. However, continuous intention of contributors to open-source software projects which is an important condition for success of open-source software and the survival of open source software projects is scarcely investigated. My dissertation addresses this lack of research by investigating the most relevant determinants of continuous intention of contributors to open-source software projects. An adapted version of the job characteristic theory (JCT) from Hackman and Oldham the open-source software work characteristics theory (OSSWCT), which illustrates the formation of continuous intention and the role of these determinants in its creation, is developed in this work. Furthermore, it has been tested and supported using partial least squares structural equation model in this dissertation. By analyzing survey data from 855 contributors to open-source software projects it can be supported that experienced sense of belonging has the greatest direct effect on continuous intention. Enjoyment has the second greatest effect on continuous intention and experienced responsibility has the third strongest effect. Furthermore two paths could be identified of related constructs that form continuous intention: one “enjoyment path” and one “social path”.