Open Source Software (OSS) development is often characterized by software developers who have an extensive amount of freedom to decide when to participate and when not to. Overarched by the path-goal theory and built on the leadership and motivation theories, we propose a research model that investigates the relationship between an OSS project leader’s leadership style and a developer’s motivation to contribute to the software development. We specifically decompose the leadership and motivation construct to understand the underneath mechanism of how leadership impact motivation. A set of survey data collected from 118 OSS developers on Sourceforge.net is used to test our research hypotheses. The results indicate that leaders’ transformational leadership is positively related to developers’ intrinsic motivation and leaders’ active management by exception, a form of transactional leadership, is positively related to developers’ extrinsic motivation. Link to the article
LI, Y., TAN, C.H. and TEO, H.H. (2012). Leadership Characteristics and Developer's Motivation in Open Source Software Development. Information and Management, 49(5), pp. 257-267.