Publications by Dr. Andreas Schilling

Conference Articles (Peer Reviewed)

Schilling, A., Laumer, S., and Weitzel, T. (2014)
Stars Matter - How FLOSS Developers' Reputation Affects the Attraction of New Developers
Proceedings of the 2014 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research, Singapore

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The attraction of new developers is a key challenge for initiatives developing Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). While previous evaluations consider status gains and competence evaluations to be key drivers for novices' joining behavior, it is unclear how FLOSS developers' relationships with others affect the attraction of new developers. In this research, we look at FLOSS developers' relationships in terms of positive evaluations given by others. Using this perspective, we examine how FLOSS developers' reputation among members within and beyond the project community affects their projects' ability to attract new developers. We draw on Social Resource Theory (SRT) and hypothesize that developers with a high reputation among others enjoy high visibility and credibility, which in turn helps their projects to attract new members. Finally, we propose an evaluation approach for our research model that examines the reputation and project behavior of more than 1,000 FLOSS developers on a longitudinal base.

Schilling, A. (2014)
What do we know about Floss Developers' Attraction, Retention, and Commitment? A Literature Review
Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Big Island (HI)

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Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) is an essential part of our daily life. Many companies and private households rely on FLOSS every day. However, the vast majority of FLOSS initiatives fail. In order to support future research and derive operational advice for FLOSS projects, this research reviews and categorizes the managerial insights from over 20 years of FLOSS research. Based on the central role of the developer base and research on human resource management, developer attraction, retention and commitment are identified as core management areas for FLOSS projects. A detailed analysis of 43 journal articles on FLOSS management identifies an extensive body, which analyses project members' commitment. In contrast, there is relatively little dedicated research on FLOSS developers' attraction and retention. Moreover, the literature review reveals that most articles use solely either an individual-, group- or project-centric research perspective although these perspectives are interrelated with each other.

Schilling, A., Laumer, S., and Weitzel, T. (2013)
In the spotlight - evaluating how celebrities affect floss developers' participation motivation
Proceedings of the 21th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Motivating one's workforce is a major challenge for organizations. Demotivated employees not only cause harm to organizations' productivity and innovation but also show increased turn-over intentions. As in the case of organizations, projects developing Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) depend strongly on the motivation of their contributors. Existing research repeatedly highlights project members' motivation for FLOSS projects' success and continuance. However, existing evaluations primarily treat project members' participation motives as exogenous constructs. As a result no operational advice can be derived for FLOSS projects on how to motivate their contributors. This research takes an alternative view and regards FLOSS developers' motivation as product of their self-determination and influences of their surrounding environment. Drawing on Self-Determination-Theory (SDT), we consider FLOSS developers' motivation as multi-dimensional and sensitive to environmental stimuli. As an example for such environmental stimuli we propose that project celebrities (members with a high standing in the FLOSS community) stimulate the participation motives of project members in different ways. An evaluation with 65 participants of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) largely supports our research model and provides evidence for the endogenous character of FLOSS developers' motivation. Our research results suggest that celebrities stimulate rather self-determined than externally regulated motives.

Schilling, A., Laumer, S., and Weitzel, T. (2013)
Together but apart - How spatial, temporal and cultural distances affect FLOSS developers' project retention
Proceedings of the 2013 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research, Cincinnati (OH)

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Companies rely more and more on virtual teams which consist of globally dispersed members. Unfortunately, members' separation can raise considerable interpersonal challenges. In order to prevent conflicts from deescalating and ensure effective teamwork, companies pay careful attention to the management of members' spatial, temporal and cultural distances. While initiatives developing Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) similarly combine a worldwide distributed workforce, relatively little is known about how members' separation affects their collaboration. However, without such an understanding no adequate advice can be derived for managers of FLOSS initiatives on how to foster members' collaboration and retention. Building on lessons learned from the organizational domain this research hypothesizes that spatial, temporal and cultural distances are key factors for FLOSS developers' team integration and project retention. To evaluate our research hypotheses, we study FLOSS developers' contribution and conversation behavior and extract objective figures on their spatial, temporal and cultural distances to each other.

Schilling, A. and Laumer, S. (2012)
Learning to remain - Evaluating the use of mentoring for the retention of FLOSS developers
Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Barcelona, Spain

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The retention of newcomers is of vital relevance for initiatives developing Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). Based on previous FLOSS research which repeatedly highlights the amount of knowledge developers build in the beginning of their project participation for their continuance and experiences from the organizational domain, we evaluate the use of mentoring as an appropriate knowledge transfer and retention strategy for FLOSS projects. Combining FLOSS and organizational literature, we develop our research model and hypothesize that (i) mentoring facilitates novices in their learning, which, in turn, increases their retention (ii) and (iii) that mentoring has direct effects on protégés' continued participation. The evaluation of 91 newcomers to the KDE project supports our hypotheses and finds a strong direct and indirect association between mentoring and novices' project retention. On the one hand our analysis shows that mentoring significantly increases novices' achieved level of knowledge after their ramp up period which, in turn, enlarges their project permanence. On the other hand, we find evidence that there is also a strong and significant direct association between mentoring and protégés' retention behaviour, which could be the result of the strong interpersonal relationship which is formed between mentors and protégés.

Schilling, A. (2012)
Links to the Source - A Multidimensional View of Social Ties for the Retention of FLOSS Developers
Proceedings of the 2012 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research, Milwaukee (WI)

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Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) is of vital importance for the daily life of many private and corporate users. However, the majority of all FLOSS initiatives fail, most commonly due to a lack of sustained developers. In contrast to previous research which used an individual centric or a structural perspective, this dissertation combines motivational and relational aspects to build a comprehensive understanding for FLOSS developers' ongoing project commitment. A unified research model is developed by drawing on established theories from organizational and sociological literature, in particular by combining Self-Determination-Theory (SDT) and Social-Identity-Theory (SIT). Both SDT and SIT have been found valuable concepts for staffing decisions in organizations. In addition to the development and evaluation of the research model, this dissertation derives operational strategies for project managers of FLOSS initiatives on how to enhance the retention behavior of their contributor base.

Schilling, A., Laumer, S., and Weitzel, T. (2012)
Train and Retain - The Impact of Mentoring on the Retention of FLOSS Developers
Proceedings of the 2012 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research, Milwaukee (WI)
(Research in Progress)

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The acquisition of new knowledge is a critical task for software development. IT companies spend considerable resources in the training of their employees to succeed in a continuously changing industry. Depending on the voluntary commitment of their contributors, initiatives developing Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) identified members' learning and their retention as vital. Although contributors' knowledge building has been repeatedly found to facilitate their project continuance, FLOSS projects are lacking operational advices on how to assist their members' learning. Drawing on previous literature which emphasizes project members' social interactions and their practical experiences to build new knowledge, we propose mentoring as a training method for FLOSS projects. Based on organizational experiences, we propose a measure to evaluate mentoring as an appropriate strategy for FLOSS initiatives to facilitate individuals' learning and to retain their contributors on longitudinal base.

Schilling, A., Laumer, S., and Weitzel, T. (2012)
Who will remain? - An evaluation of actual Person-Job and Person-Team fit to predict developer retention in FLOSS-projects
Proceedings of the 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Maui (HI)

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Today businesses and private households worldwide rely on Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). Most FLOSS-projects however are threatened in their existence due to a lack of sustained contributors. The early identification of developers who are likely to remain at the project is an eminent task for the management of FLOSS-initiatives. Previous research showed that the subjective judgment of individuals is often inaccurate emphasizing the need to objectively assess retention behavior. Consistent with the concepts Person-Job (P-J) and Person-Team (P-T) fit from recruitment literature, we derive objective measures to predict developer retention in FLOSS-projects. To evaluate our proposed measures we assess the retention of former Google Summer of Code (GSoC) students. The results show that students' prior level of project experience, expertise and communication intensity correlates strongly with their ongoing participation. Surprisingly, our analysis reveals that students with abilities that are underrepresented in the project do not remain considerably longer.

Schilling, A., Laumer, S., and Weitzel, T. (2011)
Is the source strong with you? A fit perspective to predict sustained participation of FLOSS developers
Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Shanghai, China
(Research in Progress)

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Despite the notable success of some Free Libre Open Source (FLOSS) projects, the overwhelming majority of FLOSS initiatives fail, mostly because of insufficient long-term participation of developers. In contrast to previous research which focuses on the individual perspective, we approach developer retention from an organizational perspective to help existing project members identify potential long-term contributors who are worth spending their time on. Methodically, we transfer two concepts from professional recruiting, Person-Job (P-J) and Person-Team (P-T) fit, to the FLOSS domain and evaluate their usage to predict FLOSS developer retention. An empirical analysis reveals that both fit concepts are appropriate to explain FLOSS retention behavior. Looking at contributor retention in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) projects, we find a moderate correlation with P-J fit and a weak correlation with P-T fit.