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Context -- Motivation and job satisfaction are not the same thing, and although business organization research recognized this a long time ago, in Software Engineering research, we have not. As a result, thirty years of research on motivation in software engineering has produced knowledge on what makes software engineers generally happier, but not about how to increase their motivation. Goal -- In this article, we aim to identify visible signs of a software engineer who is motivated to work. Method -- We describe a field study in which 62 practitioners in Brazil reported their view of "motivation" in the context of their practical work. Data was collected by means of audio-recorded semi-structured interviews, and a thematic analysis was applied to identify the most relevant descriptors of motivation. Results -- Our data reveal that (1) motivated Software Engineers are engaged, focused, and collaborative; and (2) the term "motivation" is used as an umbrella term to cover several distinct organizational behaviours that are not necessarily related to the individual's desire to work. Conclusions -- Without a clear picture of the difference between these two concepts, work-based motivation programs may not be designed effectively to address either turnover or performance issues. Overall, this work indicates the need for a more effective conceptual system to investigate and encourage both job satisfaction and work motivation in software engineering research and practice.
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Motivated software engineers are engaged and focused,
while satisfied ones are happy
César França
Centre for Informatics
Federal University of Pernambuco
Recife-PE, Brazil
+55 (81) 21268430
Centre for Advanced Studies and
Systems at Recife C.E.S.A.R
Recife-PE, Brazil
+55 81 3425.4700
Helen Sharp
Computing and Communications
The Open University
Milton Keynes, UK
+44 (0) 1908 65358
Fabio Q. B. da Silva
Centre for Informatics
Federal University of Pernambuco
Recife-PE, Brazil
+55 (81) 21268430
Centre for Advanced Studies and
Systems at Recife C.E.S.A.R
Recife-PE, Brazil
+55 81 3425.4700
Context Motivation and job satisfaction are not the same thing,
and although business organization research recognized this a
long time ago, in Software Engineering research, we have not. As
a result, thirty years of research on motivation in software
engineering has produced knowledge on what makes software
engineers generally happier, but not about how to increase their
motivation. Goal In this article, we aim to identify visible signs
of a software engineer who is motivated to work. Method We
describe a field study in which 62 practitioners in Brazil reported
their view of "motivation" in the context of their practical work.
Data was collected by means of audio-recorded semi-structured
interviews, and a thematic analysis was applied to identify the
most relevant descriptors of motivation. Results Our data reveal
that (1) motivated Software Engineers are engaged, focused, and
collaborative; and (2) the term "motivation" is used as an umbrella
term to cover several distinct organizational behaviours that are
not necessarily related to the individual´s desire to work.
Conclusions Without a clear picture of the difference between
these two concepts, work-based motivation programs may not be
designed effectively to address either turnover or performance
issues. Overall, this work indicates the need for a more effective
conceptual system to investigate and encourage both job
satisfaction and work motivation in software engineering research
and practice.
Categories and Subject Descriptors
D.2.9 [Software Engineering]: Management programming
General Terms
Management, Performance, Human Factors.
Work Motivation, Job Satisfaction, Software Engineers
How best to motivate software engineers is an issue close to many
productivity and reduce turnover. However, in this paper, we
argue that two related, but distinct, concepts are too often
conflated by both researchers and practitioners: work motivation
and job satisfaction.
According to two recent systematic literature reviews in the area,
140 articles about motivation of software engineers were
published between 1980 and 2010 [1][2]. The research results,
however, are inconclusive, and allow us to develop only abstract
models, such as the MOCC [3].In addition, a recent empirical
study involving a series of case studies [4][5][6][7]in different
types of software organizations, identified a large variety of
factors that reportedly affected the work motivation of software
engineers. This variety led us to question whether ‘motivation’ is
simply a very complex phenomenon, or were our respondents
attributing inconsistent meanings totheterm‘motivation’orwere
we in fact collecting opinions and experiences about several
phenomena, rather than a single one?
A closer inspection of these results indicates that‘jobsatisfaction’
is frequently used as a synonym for ‘motivation’. However job
satisfaction and motivation refer to different phenomena [8]. Job
satisfaction affects physical and mental health, absence, and
turnover, i.e. satisfaction makes people happy, while individuals
motivated to work will perform as best as they can, i.e. it affects
individuals’productivity [10].
Such confusion challenges the development of effective strategies
to get the best out of software engineers, because much of the
previous research on “motivation” in software engineering
actually investigates job satisfaction, which has no proven direct
effect on productivity [9]. In addition, we have no clear picture of
the visible signs of a motivated engineer, because motivation is an
abstract “internalstate”[11].
In this article, we shed light on this issue by uncovering visible
signs of a software engineer’s motivation to work, based on the
individual perspectives of 62practitioners from five different
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Brazilian organizations. We collected rich data and conducted a
thematic analysis, providing evidence that motivated software
engineers are engaged, focused on their work, and collaborative.
The remainder of this article is organized as follows: In Section 2,
we present the theoretical bases that guide this research work: the
Job Satisfaction Theory and the Job Characteristics Theory of
motivation. Section 3 summarizes the current state of art about
motivation and satisfaction in software engineering. Section 4
describes our research questions, methods and techniques of data
collection and analysis, and the results are presented in Section 5.
Section 6 presents a discussion showing how well the data
answered our research questions and Section 7 presents some
concluding remarks and future work.
The study of work motivation and job satisfaction developed
mainly in 1900s. In the first 50 years of the 20th century, no
explicit distinction was made in research studies between work
motivation and job satisfaction [12], although they have been
implied to refer to different concepts since the early theories.
Organizational behaviour research has significantly advanced
since this time, and it is now clear that work motivation refers to
the desire to do the work [13], while job satisfaction is a complex
If a research effort sets out to identify the antecedents and
outcomes of work motivation or job satisfaction without a clear
understanding of their distinction, its findings may be confounded.
For practitioners, devising management schemes without a clear
and consistent basis may result in ineffective practices [15].
Locke [14] developed an extensive theoretical study to redefine
the construct of job satisfaction. Since his definition was
presented, it has become a consensus between academics from the
organizational behaviour field [16]. In contrast, work motivation
has remained a fuzzy abstract concept, and the study of human
motivation has branched out in different theories in several fields.
This has contributed even more to conceptual uncertainty and that
is still problematic to researchers and practitioners in the area.
Table 1 summarises the six most relevant theories of motivation
for the software engineering field [20], emphasising the
conceptual differences between motivation and satisfaction
contained in each theory.
Although work motivation and job satisfaction are connected,
there are two critical characteristics that make work motivation
distinct from job satisfaction. First, motivation is future oriented,
while satisfaction is past oriented [8], i.e. motivation is an
antecedent of performance, while satisfaction is a consequence of
work events. Second, work motivation is about individuals’
perception of the work and its intrinsic characteristics, while job
satisfaction is about the perception of a broader set of elements
present in the workplace, including but not limited to the work
itself. In addition, motivation to do work impacts upon
productivity while job satisfaction impacts attendance, turnover
and health.
According to Locke, happiness is the main observable trait of
satisfied behaviour[14][17]. In contrast, the observable traits of
motivated behaviour are elusive. The large variety of
interpretations of the term 'motivation' within the available
theories challenges the accumulation of knowledge about the
observable motivational traits and contributes to this uncertainty.
Ambrose and Kulik[18] observed that, in the 1990s, research in
the Organizational Behaviour field turned its lens toward
observable and measurable elements of behaviour, while abstract
concepts such as ‘motivation’, moved “backstage as a largely
unmeasured, but still theoretically relevant, mediating variable”
[18, p. 280].
Table 1- The differentcharacterisationsof‘satisfaction’and
‘motivation’in the main theories of motivation
Motivation vs. Satisfaction
Hierarchy of
Needs Theory
It is not possible to find an explicit definition of
motivation and satisfaction in this theory.
However, a semantic difference is implied
between the words motivation, which refers to
a state of need, and satisfaction, which refers to
a state of no need.
Hygiene Theory
States that satisfied people are more productive,
and that job satisfaction is activated by two
independent sets of factors: motivators (or
satisfiers) are the primary cause of job
satisfaction, and hygiene factors (or dissatisfiers)
are the primary cause of job dissatisfaction.
Theory [23]
Satisfaction results from the convergence of
subjective expectations and actual outcomes of
an action. Motivation is the process of deciding
whether an effort to perform a specific action is
worthier than its available alternatives, and it is
guided by the maximization of satisfaction
Goal Setting
Theory [24]
Motivation is the willingness to strive for the
goals of a particular organisation. The four
elements that represent motivated behaviour in
the Goal Setting theory are: Direction: goals
direct attention and action; Effort: the amount of
effort mobilized in proportion to the perceived
requirements of the goal or task; Persistence:
directed effort extended over time; Strategy
development: the development of strategies or
Job Satisfaction
Theory [14]
Job satisfaction is the pleasurable emotional state
job as achieving or facilitating the achievement
congruent with or help to fulfil one’sbasicneeds.
Inthiscontext,‘subjective means pertaining
only to individuals. Val u e is that which one acts
to gain and/or to keep. Need refers to objective
requirements for wellbeing.
Theory [25]
Internal work motivationrefersto“beingturned
Satisfaction is the degree to which the employee
is happy with the job, or with specific aspects of
the job.
Some motivation theories have gained special attention because
they suggested operational ways of assessing antecedents and
outcomes of work motivation in practice [19]. The Job
Characteristics Theory of motivation [11], for instance, which has
become the most popular theory of work motivation in the
software engineering literature [20], covers both job satisfaction
andwork motivation,butitreliesonthenotion of‘internalwork
motivation’, which refers to a set of internalfeelings. While job
satisfaction can be assessed through scales of happiness, this
theory does not suggest external signs of motivated individuals.
The two systematic literature reviews on motivation in software
engineering [1][2]both produced long lists of factors that
reportedly influence (either positively or negatively) the
motivation of Software Engineers to be more (or less) productive,
together with several outcomes of more and less motivated
Software Engineers.
However, the conceptual bases of the primary studies retrieved in
these two systematic reviews is very diverse, which make their
integration and synthesis somewhat challenging. Table 2,
illustrates some of this diversity by presenting example papers and
their focus. In order to learn from the differences, and advance our
knowledge on this issue, research efforts need to address similar
Table 2The focus of studies on "motivation" of software
engineers varies
Focus of the studies
Antecedents of job satisfaction.
Intention to leave/stay in an organization
Reasons for choosing IT as a career
Reasons for developing open source software
Reasons for choosing an open source software to work for
Reasons for doing a specific task (e.g. refactoring)
Antecedents of work motivation
Performance, productivity, proactive behaviour
Hall et al [20] presented a deeper discussion showing that the
studies explicitly mentioning some theory of motivation either
used it in a superficial way, or in a partial way, asserting that
“studies of motivation in software engineering (…) should be
more rigorously based on existing theory”[20, p. 10:25]. The
updated review conducted by França et al. [2] shows that this
picture remains unchanged.
The MOCC model [3] is the most recent advance in the study of
motivation in software engineering. The model currently stands as
an abstract, holistic model that enables researchers and
practitioners to have a better understanding of the landscape of
motivation, and provides a coherent framework for integrating
research findings. Nevertheless, the model combines different
concepts of motivation and job satisfaction in a single synthesis,
and puts together results from research that may have been
interested in one, both or neither of these concepts (Table 2).
As a result, we can conclude that more is known about software
engineers’ job satisfaction, but little is known about software
engineers’ work motivation. In order to address this gap, we set
out to obtain a deeper understanding of work motivation for
software engineers. Our main contribution, in this paper, consists
of a set of observational traits of behaviour that characterize the
motivated behaviour of software engineers. We expect this
contribution to enable more data-driven empirical research in this
area, and to serve the initial basis for a more solid framework to
guide and integrate research findings about motivation of software
In 2010 and 2011, we conducted independent case studies aimed
at developing a better understanding of work motivation in five
Brazilian software organizations (Table 3). Rich data was
collected from 62 practitioners, including analysts, developers,
testers, managers and executive directors. The participants were
selected intentionally, following a maximum variation strategy
regarding age, work experience, and education. The interviews
followed a single script, and were conducted by different
researchers in each organization. We then developed separate
grounded theories [36] that each identified, described and related
factors that reportedly explained the “motivation” in one
organization. All the interviews were conducted in Portuguese,
and the analysis was performed by native speakers in the original
language. More details on these case studies can be found
elsewhere [4][5][6].
Table 3 - Organizations' characteristics
Then we ran cross-case syntheses [7] using the meta-ethnography
approach [37]. The large and complex models resulting from that
effort led us to question whether the participants of the interviews
referred to a single well-defined phenomenon, or offered opinions
and experiences about several phenomena.
During the case studies, participants were informed that the
research focused on motivation, and the word “motivation” was
used in the interviews, but no definition of the term was suggested
before or during the interviews. As suggested by the grounded
theory procedures, in those studies, we approached the data
without the guidance of any previous theory of motivation, and
the analyses relied on bottom-up definitions of the phenomenon.
In the present article, we are specifically interested in the
meanings that practitioners attributed to the term “motivation”.
clearly motivated and demotivated co-workers? Are these
perceptions effectively addressing the phenomenon that we are
interested in?
To do this, we used the raw answers that participants provided to
three specific questions embedded in the interview scripts, and
conducted a thematic analysis. The questions were:
Q1. How would youdefinetheterm“motivation”?
Q2. How would you describe a clearly motivated co-
Q3. How would you describe a co-worker that is clearly
not motivated?
Thematic analysis is a method for identifying, analysing, and
reporting patterns (themes) within the data [38]. Two researchers
coded the answers independently. The codes were merged, and
grouped in more abstract categories. Conflicts were discussed in
face-to-face meetings until agreement was achieved. All analysis
was performed in Portuguese.
According to Cruzes and Dyba [38], thematic analysis has limited
interpretative power beyond mere description, if it is not used
within an existing theoretical framework. In this paper, we
interpret our results in light of the Job Satisfaction Theory [14]
and the Job Characteristics Theory [11], previously described in
Section 2.
A total of 56 valid answers were provided for Q1, and 58 valid
answers for Q2 and Q3 (Table 4). Several answers communicated
the lack of confidence participants had regarding the precise
words to use to define motivation, and to describe motivated and
demotivated co-workers, but only answers such as “I do not
know” have been considered invalid for analysis purposes,
because they are not useful to make any further inference.
All the data is in Portuguese, and the analysis was conducted in
the same language. The examples were translated to English in
this paper to improve readability for the international community.
Table 4 - Number of participants and valid answers
Org. 1
Org. 2
Org. 3
Org. 4
Org. 5
Tot a l
Regarding the first question (Q1), 12 distinct patterns were
identified. Table 5 provides an example of how one of these
patterns was generated from the data. These 12 distinct patterns
were then collated into three abstract groupings. Table 6
summarizes the eight most frequent patterns in three groupings
and indicates the organizations in which the participants referred
to each definition. Note that the example in Table 5 appears in
row 4 of Table 6, and in Group I.
Table 5 - Example of one pattern construction
Interview excerpts
pleasure of being productive”
Part. 003, Org. 1, Director.
Motivation is
from doing the
“Itiswhen youlike that, when that gives
you pleasure
Part. 021, Org. 2, Tester
you pleasure, when you feel good doing
something that someone ordered you to
Part. 038, Org. 3, Manager
feel good
I think that motivation is to do whatever
you like, whatever makes you happy.”
Part. 044, Org. 4, System Analyst
Table 6Patterns of definitions for the term "motivation"
It is the overall welfare in the job
It is the pride for doing the work
It is to make people feel
It is the pleasure/happiness from
doing the work
Desire to work
It is the extra-effort applied to
It is the desire to do the work
It is the willingness to attain
some rewards
It is the willingness to grow, to
advance careers
Regarding the other two questions (Q2 and Q3), we identified 30
behavioural descriptors (adjectives). Table 7 shows an example of
how the adjectives were identified from the data.
These adjectives were grouped into nine categories with a higher
level of abstraction (Table 8). In Table 8, positive adjectives
Table 7 - Example of behavioural descriptors identification
Interview excerpts
“First,hearrives early. Smiling, solve the
problems promptly, doesn’twastetime. I think that
the main thing is when you perceive that the
the things with pleasure.(…)Allthesethingsshow
motivation. The person pursuits solutions, doesn’t
expect it to come from nowhere…heisproactive
Part. 006, Org. 1, System Analyst
Good mood
Table 9 shows the frequencies with which each category was used
to describe motivated OR demotivated behaviours. According to
this table, descriptors in categories C1 to C6 were mentioned in all
cases. C1 Engagement and C2 Happiness hold the most
frequently used descriptors. Table 10 shows how consistently the
participants described the opposite behaviours. Forty-five
participants (77%) described motivation AND demotivation using
adjectives from the same category. This indicates that the category
represents a consistent interpretation of motivation in practice.
Category C1 Engagement was the most consistently used
through all the cases to describe both motivated and demotivated
behaviours. C2, C3, C4 and C5 were also consistently utilized by
some engineers in all organizations. Although C2, C3 and C5
were among the most frequently mentioned categories (Table 9),
their consistency can be classified as low, i.e. the participants
mentioned it either to describe motivated or demotivated
behaviour exclusively. Only in Org. 5, which is an open source
community, was C3 not consistently mentioned, and this may be
because developers are physically distributed and co-workers are
less likely to notice the concentration levels of others.
Table 8 - Behavioural descriptors for motivated and
demotivated engineers
C1 Engagement
C2 Happiness
Good mood
Bad mood
C3 Focused
C4 Collaboration
Ava i la b le
C5 Professionalism
C6 Productivity
C7 Creativity
C8 Stability
C9 Optimism
Table 9 - Motivated behaviour (Frequency)
Categories mentioned in Q2 OR Q3
* Representative of half or more participants in that case
Table 10 - Motivated behaviour (Consistency)
Categories mentioned in Q2AND Q3
* Consistent for half or more participants in that case
Our theoretical framework proposes that job satisfaction and work
motivation refer to distinct phenomena (see Section 2 for a more
detailed theoretical discussion). Job satisfaction is the pleasurable
emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job as
attaining, or allowing the attainment of, one’s important job
values, while work motivation refers to the desire to work.
Considering a single minute action, motivation happens before it
while satisfaction happens afterwards. The Job Satisfaction
Theory suggests that Job Satisfaction is signalled by the happiness
of the individuals at work, while the external signs of a motivated
behaviour remain unknown. Human life in fact is a continuous
composed by series of actions, so both concepts are mutually
reinforcing, because past satisfaction shapes people's perception
about experiences and the world around them, which
consequently affects their motivation for future actions.
The data presented in the previous section may mean that our
participants do not regard work motivation and job satisfaction as
distinguishable phenomena, or it may mean that they are not
aware of the distinction. Either way, it supports our initial claim
that the participants of our case studies do not distinguish between
job satisfaction and work motivation. The data shows, in two
complementary ways, that these different phenomena are
conflated in their responses:
First, Table 6 shows that the most frequent definitions attributed
to the term motivation pertain to Group I, which focuses mainly
on feelings resulting from the appraisal of the job, such as pride
and happiness. The definitions in Group I converge to the
definition of satisfaction provided by the Job Satisfaction Theory,
while the definitions in Group II in fact fit better with the
definition of motivation provided by the Job Characteristics
Second, Engagement, Happiness, Concentration, Collaboration
and Professionalism are the categories of behavioural descriptors
most frequently and most consistently mentioned by our
participants to describe the motivated behaviour of their co-
workers. However, these five categories of descriptors clearly
belong to different concepts of our theoretical framework, as
shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Concepts and their descriptors
Happiness is an external sign of job satisfaction, rather than work
motivation. Happiness was the label attributed to a list of positive
and negative emotions that occur as a result of one’sevaluationof
the action, namely: excited/bored, good mood/bad mood, upbeat,
resentful. Engagement and Concentration, on the other hand, are
compatible with the concept of work motivation provided in JCT,
because they comprise mainly attitudes toward the work that are
perceivable before the execution of an action.
Table 8 shows that some of the engineers have mentioned
hypothetical outcomes of job satisfaction or work motivation as
proxies to describe what they consider motivated and demotivated
behaviours, which explains why collaboration and
professionalism appear among the most frequent and consistent
categories. The Job Satisfaction Theory suggests that job
satisfaction influences attendance and organizational
commitment. The descriptors in our category Professionalism
represent exactly these attitudes of an individual toward the
organization. Furthermore, collaboration is an element of
performance, as well as productivity and creativity,
Finally, the low level of consistency described in Table 10 may
indicate that motivation and demotivation are two independent
behavioural states. Although the words “motivation” and
“demotivation” were used in the interview scripts in the case
studies, we could not find an explicit definition for the concept of
“demotivation”inourtheoreticalframework. The Job Satisfaction
theory describes Job Satisfaction and Job Dissatisfaction as two
co-existing states, rather than opposite forces. Thus, we follow a
similar rationale to suggest an interpretation for this concept,
based on our data, described below.
It is possible to observe in the data that the negative adjectives of
the category “focused”, in particular, described demotivated
engineers better than the positively-described motivated
engineers. Since the Job Characteristics Theory defines
motivation as the desire to work, the opposite of motivation would
rather be “no motivation” or “the lack of desire to work”. The
term‘demotivation’,incontrast, may have communicated the idea
of “the desire not to work” in our case studies. Thus, while
motivated engineers are engaged, demotivated engineers are
distracted. Both motivational and de-motivational forces co-exist
in the environment, so the combination of the engagement and
focused states reveals two other situations, illustrated in Figure 2.
“Not-engaged and focused” represents a state defined as
Homeostasis [39], or a state of balance that results in no action.
The opposite state, “engaged and distracted” (frenetic) indicates
the influence of non-hygienic forces on the ability of the
individual to maintain good performance, such as constant
interruptions, noise, discomfort, and health conditions, among
Figure 2 - Motivated behaviour quadrant
Whether a researcher or a practitioner is interested in solving a
turnoverproblemorin enhancingtheiremployees’performance,
they should be aware that the antecedents, behavioural signs, and
outcomes of work motivation and job satisfaction differ. This has
practical implications for work-based motivation programmes,
which may not be effectively designed to enhance performance
and productivity of software engineers.
The role of this paper is two-fold.
1. To highlight the distinction between these two concepts for
the software engineering research and practitioner
communities, and
2. To present indicators of motivated behaviour in software
engineers based on empirical research, in a form of
descriptors that can be used to develop observational or
measurement instruments in the future
The evidence presented in this paper suggests that software
practitioners do not distinguish between work motivation and job
satisfaction. We would not expect software engineers to provide a
very precise definition for the term, since it is not necessarily part
of their technical curricula. However, this may challenge the
findings from past research that asked software engineers directly
for their perceptions about their own motivation.
Previous research suggests that satisfied behaviour is perceived in
terms of happiness at work. In this work, we suggest motivated
behaviour is perceived in terms of engagement and focus. In our
research, these two behavioural traits were the most consistently
mentioned to describe motivated behaviour by the interviewed
software engineering practitioners across the five studied
organisations. Knowing this will help to improve future empirical
research on motivation and support the effective management of
software engineers in the workplace.
All of the studies reported here were executed in Brazilian
companies. Since individual characteristics, values, knowledge
and perceptions vary between distinct cultures [40], the reader
should be careful in transferring these results to other contexts. It
opens, however, an opportunity of replicating this study in other
countries, to draw comparisons, and enhance the theory from
eventual differences.
Future research should take a closer look at the antecedents of
engagement and concentration as a way of understanding how to
develop motivational programmes that are more focused on the
performance of software engineers.
Professor Fabio Q. B. da Silva holds a research grant from the
Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq), process
#314523/2009-0. The research that led to the results presented
here were conducted while César França was a PhD student at
UFPE, holding a CNPq grant process #141156/2010-4. We would
like to thank all participants in all phases of this research and the
organizations involved for granting access for data collection.
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... Paxton et al. / Cognitive Science 46 (2022) 5 of 27 lhães, 2017). Motivation to continue is related to pride and recognition, while satisfaction with the work-a driving factor in continued engagement-has been closely tied to happiness and positive emotional states (França, Sharp, & Da Silva, 2014). General positive emotions have been tied to better analytical problem-solving (Graziotin, Wang, & Abrahamsson, 2014) and self-assessed productivity (Graziotin, Wang, & Abrahamsson, 2013). ...
... Certain properties of language may be particularly important indicators of community health-specifically, sentiment (or emotion) 2 and gratitude, given the importance of these to individual and interpersonal processes to social health generally and within software programming communities (Algoe, 2012;Dabbish, Stuart, Tsay, & Herbsleb, 2012;Emmons & Shelton, 2002;França, Sharp, & Da Silva, 2014;Steinmacher, Conte, Gerosa, & Redmiles, 2015;Yoshimura & Berzins, 2017). However, consistent with a dynamical systems approach to language (Gibbs & Van Orden, 2012;Hodges & Fowler, 2010;Paxton, Dale, & Richardson, 2016), these patterns should be sensitive to the specific context in which communication occurs (Mäntylä, Adams, Destefanis, Graziotin, & Ortu, 2016;Rączaszek-Leonardi & Kelso, 2008) and the person's own relationship with the community (and, by extension, their enculturation into the community; Thorne, Black, & Sykes, 2009;Rączaszek-Leonardi, 2010). ...
... Second, we see the present work as fitting with previous research that has focused on the social, emotional, and cognitive aspects of software development and FOSS maintenance (Algoe, 2012;Dabbish et al., 2012;Emmons & Shelton, 2002;França et al., 2014;Steinmacher et al., 2015;Yoshimura & Berzins, 2017). However, we understand that social and community dynamics do not solely shape FOSS projects' ultimate success or failure. ...
Full-text available
Free and open‐source software projects have become essential digital infrastructure over the past decade. These projects are largely created and maintained by unpaid volunteers, presenting a potential vulnerability if the projects cannot recruit and retain new volunteers. At the same time, their development on open collaborative development platforms provides a nearly complete record of the community's interactions; this affords the opportunity to study naturally occurring language dynamics at scale and in a context with massive real‐world impact. The present work takes a dynamical systems view of language to understand the ways in which communicative context and community membership shape the emergence and impact of language use—specifically, sentiment and expressions of gratitude. We then present evidence that these language dynamics shape newcomers' likelihood of returning, although the specific impacts of different community responses are crucially modulated by the context of the newcomer's first contact with the community.
... They based their research on the Job Characteristics Theory and discovered that software engineers from all over the world exhibited similarities regarding their growth need strengths (GNS). More recently and specifically, researchers such as Beecham et al. [4], Sharp et al. [5], and Franca et al. [6] have emphasized the importance of understanding what motivates software engineers. Beecham et al. [4] presented a systematic literature review on motivation in software engineering, which can be relevant for managers and leaders in software engineering practice. ...
... Sharp et al. [5] proposed the MOCC (Motivators, Outcomes, Characteristics and Context) model, which integrates research work conducted in many different contexts, cultures, and software development settings. Franca el al. [6] identified visible signs in the workplace, of motivated software engineers. ...
... Some of these studies were consolidated in theories. For instance, there is a theory regarding the motivation and satisfaction of software engineers that was developed based on the analysis of years of published field studies and based on the specific traits of software engineering practice [6]. This theory was proposed to support academic and industrial practice on understating the motivation of software engineers working on different phases of software life cycle such as analysts, developers, testers, managers. ...
Conference Paper
As software systems are becoming more pervasive, they are also becoming more susceptible to failures, resulting in potentially lethal combinations. Software testing is critical to preventing software failures but is, arguably, the least understood part of the software life cycle and the toughest to perform correctly. Adequate research has been carried out in both the process and technology dimensions of testing, but not in the human dimensions. This paper attempts to fill in the gap by exploring the human dimension, i.e., trying to understand the motivation of software professionals to take up and sustain testing careers. Towards that end, a survey was conducted in four countries - India, Canada, Cuba, and China - to try to understand how professional software testers perceive and value work-related factors that could influence their motivation to take up and sustain testing careers. With a sample of 220 software professionals, we observed that very few professionals are keen to take up testing careers. Some aspects of software testing, such as the learning opportunities, appear to be a common motivator across the four countries; whereas the treatment meted out to testers as second-class citizens and the complexity of the job appeared to be the most important de-motivators. This comparative study offers useful insights that can help global software industry leaders to come up with an action plan to put the software testing profession under a new light. That could increase the number of software engineers choosing testing careers, which would facilitate quality testing
... In this work we define human aspects in software engineering as human-related aspects that can become make-or-break issues in software projects [30]. Researchers have investigated various human aspects in various SE contexts -such as personality [10] [13], emotions [15], motivation [58] [25], gender [52], culture [54], communication issues [18] [7], human errors [6], attitude [22], team climate [57] and others -and identified their impact on SE, for better or worse. We recently conducted a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) [30] on existing studies of human aspects impacting requirements engineering. ...
... The majority of the studies are academic-based that are conducted with academics and students and also focused on providing theoretical models/ strategies/ prototypes shows the need for more industry-focused studies. While motivation and personality have been studied in SE [16], [24] [25], we identified that these are two human aspects that to date have not been investigated much in relation to RE-related activities. When observing motivation and personality, we found many studies in the context of SE in general, with a few considering RE only as a part of it. ...
Requirements Engineering (RE)-related activities require high collaboration between various roles in software engineering (SE), such as requirements engineers, stakeholders, developers, etc. Their demographics, views, understanding of technologies, working styles, communication and collaboration capabilities make RE highly human dependent. Identifying how ”human aspects” – such as motivation, domain knowledge, communication skills, personality, emotions, culture, etc.– might impact RE-related activities would help us improve RE and SE in general. This study aims to better understand current industry perspectives on the influence of human aspects on RE-related activities, specifically focusing on motivation and personality, by targeting software practitioners involved in RE-related activities. Our findings indicate that software practitioners consider motivation, domain knowledge, attitude, communication skills and personality as highly important human aspects when involved in RE-related activities. A set of factors were identified as software practitioners’ key motivational factors when involved in RE-related activities, along with important personality characteristics to have when involved in RE. We also identified factors that made individuals less effective when involved in RE-related activities and obtained some feedback on measuring individuals’ performance when involved in RE. The findings from our study suggest various areas needing more investigation, and we summarise a set of key recommendations for further research.
... Human aspects in software engineering are considered as human-related aspects that can become make-or-break issues in software projects [25]. Researchers have investigated human aspects such as personality [8] [10], emotions [12], motivation [48] [20], gender [42], culture [44], communication issues [15] [6], human errors [5], attitude [18], team climate [47] and others in various SE contexts and identified their impact on SE for better or worse. From the systematic literature review (SLR) we recently conducted [25], we identified that human aspects, and their impact on RE-related activities are still an area with relatively limited attention. ...
... The majority of the studies are academic-based, shows the need for more industry-focused studies. While motivation and personality have been studied in SE [13], [19] [20], these are two human aspects that are not investigated well in RE. Hence, we are focusing on those two aspects in our further studies. ...
Full-text available
Requirements Engineering (RE) is a process that requires high collaboration between various roles in software engineering (SE), such as requirements engineers, stakeholders, developers, etc. Their demographics, views, understanding of technologies, working styles, communication and collaboration capabilities make RE highly human dependent. Identifying how human aspects such as motivation, domain knowledge, communication skills, personality, emotions, culture, etc might impact RE would help us to improve the RE activities and SE in general. The aim of this study is to understand current industry perspectives on the influence of human aspects on RE. We surveyed 111 software practitioners involved in RE activities, and our findings show that 86.4% of participants agree, that the success of RE greatly depends on the people involved in it. Software practitioners consider motivation, domain knowledge, attitude, communication skills and personality as highly important human aspects when involved in RE. A set of factors, we categorize as human/social and technical were identified as software practitioners motivation factors when involved in RE activities, where the majority of are motivated due to human/social factors. Furthermore, our findings suggest that software practitioners personality characteristics should also be paid more attention to as they are important when conducting RE effectively.
... Some studies have addressed the relationship between social and human factors in the context of Software Engineering considered in this research. For example, autonomy as a motivating factor [39] and the motivation that generates action, in which collaboration is evident and, as a consequence, the action generates satisfaction [40]. According to this, it is possible to construct dynamic models like the one presented in Fig. 7. ...
Social and human factors are relevant aspects for software project management because of their direct relationship with people, their interactions, and their skills and experience in the software development process. The influence of these aspects on the productivity of the software development team is evident and key to the success of projects. This article presents a causal diagram to understand the dynamic nature of software development team productivity as affected by the social and human aspects inherent in the process. Under the system dynamics theory, a causal diagram based on a goal-seeking archetype with delays is proposed. The proposed causal diagram is a conceptual model that aims to facilitate software project management, analyzing productivity from the influence of social and human factors in software development teams.KeywordsSocial and human factorsSoftware development teamsSoftware development productivitySystem dynamics
... França et al. [32,36] observed that happy software engineers are ones who are satisfied. According to Feldt et al. [30], this satisfaction is associated with the ability of the developers to make decisions and with the level of challenge found within the work environment. ...
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated move to remote work and the resulting changes to the normal work routine, have introduced a plethora of new difficulties and challenges for software developers. Recent research has focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the developer's wellness, productivity, team collaboration, job satisfaction, and work-life balance. However, research exploring the association between these feelings and team behaviour during such a crisis period has not been previously developed. Moreover, previous research has indicated that organisations are still struggling to understand the pandemic and its relationship with both team behaviour and developer feelings. To address this gap, we analysed how COVID-19 influences a developer's happiness and their feelings of (un)happiness associated with the team's behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. A state-of-the-art analysis helped to design a scale that we used in a cross-sectional study of 102 software developers. To test the proposed hypotheses, we conducted exploratory factor analysis and principal component analysis. Our results highlight that happiness positively influences a team's behaviour and that unhappiness negatively affects their work results and productivity. These findings provide software companies and organisations with a better understanding of the importance of team behaviour on individual happiness during crises. These results provide information that managers and companies can use to mitigate potentially negative effects.
... Identification of the effect of different individual human aspects and combinations of different human aspects in SE activities is an emerging area of study where researchers are paying more attention. Researchers have investigated human aspects such as personality [6] [7], emotions [8], motivation [9] [10], gender [11], culture [12], communication issues [13] [14], human errors [15], attitude [16], team climate [17] and others in various SE contexts, where these have sometimes become make-or-break issues that affect many software projects [18]. However, human aspects and their effect on the RE process is still an area that has had relatively limited attention. ...
Requirements Engineering (RE) requires the collaboration of various roles in SE, such as requirements engineers, stakeholders and other developers, and it is thus a very highly human dependent process in software engineering (SE). Identifying how “human aspects” – such as personality, motivation, emotions, communication, gender, culture and geographic distribution – might impact on the RE process would assist us in better supporting successful RE. The main objective of this paper is to systematically review primary studies that have investigated the effects of various human aspects on the RE process. We wanted to identify if any critical human aspects have been found, and what might be the relationships between different human aspects impacting the RE process. A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted and identified 474 initial primary research studies. These were eventually filtered down to 74 relevant, high-quality primary studies. No primary study to date was found to focus on identifying what are the most influential human aspects on the RE process. Among the studied human aspects, the effects of communication have been considered in many studies of RE. Other human aspects such as personality, motivation and gender have mainly been investigated to date in relation to more general SE studies that include RE as one phase. Findings show that studying more than one human aspect together is beneficial, as this reveals relationships between various human aspects and how they together impact the RE process. However, the majority of these studied combinations of human aspects are unique. From 56.8 percent of studies that identified the effects of human aspects on RE, 40.5 percent identified the positive impact, 30.9 percent negative, 26.2 percent identified both impacts whereas 2.3 percent mentioned that there was no impact. This implies that a variety of human aspects positively or negatively affects the RE process and a well-defined theoretical analysis on the effects of different human aspects on RE remains to be defined and practically evaluated. The findings of this SLR help researchers who are investigating the impact of various human aspects on the RE process by identifying well-studied research areas, and highlight new areas that should be focused on in future research.
Software development is a process that requires a high level of human talent management to ensure its success. This makes it a topic of interest to the software industry and research. Considering this interest, it is evident the need to know the aspects that have been studied, how they have been measured, and what data analysis methods have been used. This paper presents an analysis of the human aspects associated with the software development process, identifying procedures and methods used to analyze data and its measurement. A systematic mapping with a sample of 99 studies identified by their relationship with the proposed topic was used as the research method. The main findings show that one of the most studied is personality. This aspect is related to the performance of software development teams and is a key variable for its conformation. Concerning the most used data source, we find the survey based on self-reporting. Finally, descriptive statistics is the most frequent method of analysis, which is performed prior to other methods such as correlation or regression analysis. The results suggest a wide spectrum of human aspects to be studied in Software Engineering, and interesting potential for analysis by identifying interesting methods other than self-reporting.KeywordsMetricsHuman aspectsSoftware developmentSystematic mapping study
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Aim - Given the relevance and importance that the understanding of motivation has gained in the field of software engineering, this work was carried out in order to update the results of a literature review carried out in 2006 on motivation in software engineering. Method - Based on guidelines for this specific type of study, we replicated the original study protocol. Results - The combination of manual and automatic searches retrieved 6,534 papers, of which 53 relevant papers were selected for data extraction and analysis. Conclusions - Studies address motivation using several viewpoints and approaches and, even though the number of researches increased in this area, the overall understanding of what actually motivates software engineers does not seem to have significantly advanced in the last five years.
: The integrated wholeness of the organism must be reemphasized. We should not take a localizable, somatic, partial drive as paradigm for motivation theory. The study of motivation should stress ultimate rather than partial goals, ends rather than means to ends. a) not only conscious but also unconscious motivations must be accounted for in a theory of motivation. There are, customarily, different cultural paths to the same goal. Therefore, conscious, specific, local desires are not so useful for motivation theory as fundamental, unconscious goals. Motivated behavior, either preparatory or consummatory, must be understood to be a channel through which many needs may be expressed or satisfied. Usually acts have more than one motivation. Practically all organismic states are to be understood as motivated. Man is a perpetually wanting animal; the appearance of a need rests on prior situations, on other prepotent needs; needs or desires must be arranged in hierarchies of prepotency. Lists of drives will get us no place for various reasons. Any classification of motivations must deal with the problem of level or specificity of classification. Classifications of motivations must be based upon goals rather than upon instigating drives. Motivation theory must be anthropocentric, not animalcentric. The situation or the field in which the organism reacts must be taken into account but it must be done with a dynamic interpretation of the situation or the field. Not only the integration of the organism must be taken into account but also the possibility of isolated, specific, partial or segmental responses must also be included.12 Copyright (C) 1943 by American Psychosomatic Society
After decades of research it is now possible to offer a coherent, data-based theory of work motivation and job satisfaction. The present model combines aspects of the following theories: goal setting, expectancy, social-cognitive, attribution, job characteristics, equity, and turnover-commitment. The resulting model is called the high performance cycle. It begins with organizational members being faced with high challenge or difficult goals. If high challenge is accompanied by high expectancy of success or self-efficacy, high performance results, given that there is: commitment to the goals, feedback, adequate ability, and low situational constraints. High performance is achieved through four mechanisms, direction of attention and action, effort, persistence, and the development of task strategies and plans. High performance, if rewarding, leads to job satisfaction, which in turn facilitates commitment to the organization and its goals. The model has implications for leadership, self-management, and education.
This article reports the principal findings of over 200 studies of work motivation published between January 1990 and December 1997. We examined research relevant to seven traditional motivational theories (Motives and Needs, Expectancy Theory, Equity Theory, Goal-Setting, Cognitive Evaluation Theory, Work Design, and Reinforcement Theory) and three emerging topic areas (Creativity, Groups, and Culture). For each area, we summarize the research, identify trends and discuss issues that deserve further research attention. We conclude by examining trends in research in the field overall and considering the implications of these trends for the future role of motivation in organizational behavior research.