Towards an Explanatory Theory of
Motivation in Software Engineering:
A Qualitative Case Study of a
Government Organization...
Agenda
• Introduction
• Research Method
• Results
• Conclusion
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 2
Introduction
“Motivation”...
• …is believed to be a source of many benefits for projects in
general
– Performance, product...
Introduction
“Motivation”...
• …is believed to be a source of many benefits for projects in
general
– Performance, product...
Introduction
“Motivation”...
• ...has been studied in software engineering since the 80´s
• ..has attracted much attention...
Introduction
“Motivation”...
• ...has been studied in software engineering since the 80´s
• ..has attracted much attention...
Background
Research on Motivation in Software Engineering
Has achieved important results
on clarifying some factors that m...
Background
Research on Motivation in Software Engineering
Has achieved important results
on clarifying some factors that m...
Our Objectives
How the motivation of software engineers in the
workplace is affected by contextual and
individual factors?...
Our Objectives
How the motivation of software engineers in the
workplace is affected by contextual and
individual factors?...
Agenda
• Introduction
• Research Method
• Results
• Conclusion
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 11
General Research Method
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 12
Motivation is context dependent
“qualitative researchers study things i...
General Research Method
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 13
Motivation is context dependent
“qualitative researchers study things i...
General Research Method
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 14
Motivation is context dependent
“qualitative researchers study things i...
Software
Engineer
Unit of
Analysis
Maximum variation sampling:
• Age
• Background and education
• Years of experience
• Ye...
Data Collection Strategy
Semi Structured Interviews
• Conducted Individually
• Fourteen participants
– Software engineers
...
Agenda
• Introduction
• Research Method
• Results
• Conclusion
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 18
A. Context Description
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 19
President
Admin. Board
Security commitee Audit commitee
First secretary ...
A. Context Description
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 20
President
Admin. Board
Security commitee Audit commitee
First secretary ...
A. Context Description
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 21
President
Admin. Board
Security commitee Audit commitee
First secretary ...
A. Context Description
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 22
President
Admin. Board
Security commitee Audit commitee
First secretary ...
B. How individuals understand Motivation
2 Contrasting views
“the set of existing conditions
that facilitated performing j...
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 24
Task
Team
Organization
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 25
Task
Team
Organization
Task Significance...
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 26
Task
Team
Organization
Curious factor:
K...
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 27
“Task Variety / Intellectual Problem Sol...
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 28
Task
Team
Organization
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 29
Task
Team
Organization
“Sometimes I feel...
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 30
Task
Team
Organization
“One rotten apple...
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 31
Task
Team
Organization
C. What factors affect software engineers’
motivation?
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 32
Task
Team
Organization
“Most of the peop...
D. Signs of motivated behavior
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 33
How they feel
How they behave
How they contribute to
the project...
D. Signs of motivated behavior
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 34
Team
Affect other
team mates’
motivation
Voluntary
Work
How they...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 35
Job Stability
Task Sign...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 36
Job Stability
Task Sign...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 37
Job Stability
Task Sign...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 38
Job Stability
Task Sign...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 39
Job Stability
Task Sign...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 40
Job Stability
Task Sign...
E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the
central story of the case
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 41
Job Stability
Task Sign...
Agenda
• Introduction
• Research Method
• Results
• Conclusion
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 42
Discussion
General observations Main contributions
June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 43
• We present a theory that explains the
comp...
Towards an Explanatory Theory of
Motivation in Software Engineering:
A Qualitative Case Study of a
Government Organization...
Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case
Study of a Government Organization...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

2012 EASE - Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case Study of a Government Organization

577 views

Published on

Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case Study of a Government Organization
A. César C. França, Adelnei de L. C. Felix, Fabio Q. B. da Silva

Abstract-Background – The research about motivation in software engineering has provided important insights in characterizing what are the factors and outcomes related to motivation. However, the complex relationships among these factors, including the moderating and mediating effects of organizational and individual characteristics, still require deeper explanatory investigation. Aim – Our general goal is to build explanatory theories of motivation in software organizations. In this article, we describe the construction of a grounded theory of motivation in the context of a government software development organization. Method – We performed a case study of a government software organization, focusing on the software engineers as the unit of analysis. For eight months, we conducted semi structured interviews, diary studies, and documental analyses, and analyzed the collected data using grounded theory procedures. Results – We extracted contextual factors that affect the motivation of software engineers and the outcomes associated with motivated behavior. Relationships among factors and outcomes were used to construct propositions that explain motivated behavior. Finally, the factors and propositions with higher explanatory power were used to create the central story of motivation in the organization. Conclusions – The balance between Job Stability and Growth Needs emerged as the core factors related to the motivation in the organization. Unclear growth perspectives combined with priorities based on political instead of technical aspects directly affected the intention to leave the organization.

Paper presented at the 16th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, Ciudad Real, 2012.


http://www.haseresearch.com

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

2012 EASE - Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case Study of a Government Organization

  1. 1. Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case Study of a Government Organization A. César C. França, Adelnei L. C. Felix, Fabio Q. B. da Silva Center of Informatics Federal University of Pernambuco Recife, Brazil cesarfranca@gmail.com, adelnei.felix@gmail.com, fabio@cin.ufpe.br
  2. 2. Agenda • Introduction • Research Method • Results • Conclusion June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 2
  3. 3. Introduction “Motivation”... • …is believed to be a source of many benefits for projects in general – Performance, productivity, retention, etc. • …has more than one hundred different theoretical definitions (Beecham, et al., 2008) ( Golembiewski, 2000)
  4. 4. Introduction “Motivation”... • …is believed to be a source of many benefits for projects in general – Performance, productivity, retention, etc. • …has more than one hundred different theoretical definitions (Beecham, et al., 2008) ( Golembiewski, 2000) Set of internal forces that energize, channel, and sustain human behavior towards a goal over time (Pritchard and Ashwood, 2008)
  5. 5. Introduction “Motivation”... • ...has been studied in software engineering since the 80´s • ..has attracted much attention of software engineering researchers in the last decade (Toledo & Unger, 1980 (França et al, 2011)
  6. 6. Introduction “Motivation”... • ...has been studied in software engineering since the 80´s • ..has attracted much attention of software engineering researchers in the last decade (Toledo & Unger, 1980 (França et al, 2011) “Software engineers differ from the general population with respect to personality, needs, and other individual characteristics” Average Person Software Engineers ≠ (Couger and Zawacki, Motivating and Managing Computer Personnel, 1980)
  7. 7. Background Research on Motivation in Software Engineering Has achieved important results on clarifying some factors that may affect software engineer’s motivation (Beecham et al. 2008; França et al 2011) June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 7 Level of Software Engineer’s motivation Rewards and incentives Development needs addressed Variety of work Career path Empowerment/responsibility Good management Sense of belonging Work/life balance Working in successful company Employee participation Feedback Recognition Equity Technically challenging work Job security Identify with the task Autonomy Appropriate working conditions Task significance Team quality Creativity/Innovation Fun (playing) Professionalism Good relationship with users/customers Risk Stress Poor communication Lack of promotion Unrealistic goals Problem solving Team working Development practices Change Challenge Science But there still may be a complex interplay among motivational factors at the task, organization, and individual levels
  8. 8. Background Research on Motivation in Software Engineering Has achieved important results on clarifying some factors that may affect software engineer’s motivation (Beecham et al. 2008; França et al 2011) June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 8 Level of Software Engineer’s motivation Rewards and incentives Development needs addressed Variety of work Career path Empowerment/responsibility Good management Sense of belonging Work/life balance Working in successful company Employee participation Feedback Recognition Equity Technically challenging work Job security Identify with the task Autonomy Appropriate working conditions Task significance Team quality Creativity/Innovation Fun (playing) Professionalism Good relationship with users/customers Risk Stress Poor communication Lack of promotion Unrealistic goals Problem solving Team working Development practices Change Challenge Science But there still may be a complex interplay among motivational factors at the task, organization, and individual levels
  9. 9. Our Objectives How the motivation of software engineers in the workplace is affected by contextual and individual factors? and How motivation is perceived in terms of work- related behavior and outcomes? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 9
  10. 10. Our Objectives How the motivation of software engineers in the workplace is affected by contextual and individual factors? and How motivation is perceived in terms of work- related behavior and outcomes? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 10 Qualitative approach
  11. 11. Agenda • Introduction • Research Method • Results • Conclusion June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 11
  12. 12. General Research Method June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 12 Motivation is context dependent “qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.” (Merriam, 2009)
  13. 13. General Research Method June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 13 Motivation is context dependent “qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.” (Merriam, 2009) (Yin, 2009)
  14. 14. General Research Method June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 14 Motivation is context dependent “qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.” (Merriam, 2009) (Yin, 2009) Government Organization Government Organization Private Not-for-profit Software R&D Institute Private Not-for-profit Software R&D Institute IT Department of a Public University IT Department of a Public University Small Private Software Company Small Private Software Company “Maximum Variation Sampling” method (Strauss and Corbin, 2007)
  15. 15. Software Engineer Unit of Analysis Maximum variation sampling: • Age • Background and education • Years of experience • Years of employment • Etc. (Strauss and Corbin, 2007) Data collection strategy June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 15 Project Managers Software Engineers Directors Semi- structured Interview Semi- structured Interview Semi- structured Interview Diary Studies Documental Analysis
  16. 16. Data Collection Strategy Semi Structured Interviews • Conducted Individually • Fourteen participants – Software engineers – Directors – Project managers • 9h26min of audio Diary Studies • Four Participants • Four weeks – Between Feb And Mar 2011 • 65 events reported • Retrospective interviews – 1h 8min of audio June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 16
  17. 17. Agenda • Introduction • Research Method • Results • Conclusion June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 18
  18. 18. A. Context Description June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 19 President Admin. Board Security commitee Audit commitee First secretary Legal board Management Support ITC Executive Director Information Security Unit Logistic and Management Executive Director Technology Development Manager Relationship Manager Infrastructure and Services Manager Network Manager Government Business Processes Unit Information and Management Systems Unit Strategic Information unit Human Resource Manager People development Manager Finantial and Administrative Manager Software engineers are under here!
  19. 19. A. Context Description June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 20 President Admin. Board Security commitee Audit commitee First secretary Legal board Management Support ITC Executive Director Information Security Unit Logistic and Management Executive Director Technology Development Manager Relationship Manager Infrastructure and Services Manager Network Manager Government Business Processes Unit Information and Management Systems Unit Strategic Information unit Human Resource Manager People development Manager Finantial and Administrative Manager Relevant info (I): Core Mission “provide Information Technology services to internal customers in several levels of the State Government administration and also to the citizens of the State. ” Software engineers are under here!
  20. 20. A. Context Description June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 21 President Admin. Board Security commitee Audit commitee First secretary Legal board Management Support ITC Executive Director Information Security Unit Logistic and Management Executive Director Technology Development Manager Relationship Manager Infrastructure and Services Manager Network Manager Government Business Processes Unit Information and Management Systems Unit Strategic Information unit Human Resource Manager People development Manager Finantial and Administrative Manager Relevant info (I): Core Mission “provide Information Technology services to internal customers in several levels of the State Government administration and also to the citizens of the State. ” Software engineers are under here! Relevant info (II): Employee selecion “since the Brazilian Constitution of 1998, public employees must be hired through an open process with universal access, based on objective criteria. ”
  21. 21. A. Context Description June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 22 President Admin. Board Security commitee Audit commitee First secretary Legal board Management Support ITC Executive Director Information Security Unit Logistic and Management Executive Director Technology Development Manager Relationship Manager Infrastructure and Services Manager Network Manager Government Business Processes Unit Information and Management Systems Unit Strategic Information unit Human Resource Manager People development Manager Finantial and Administrative Manager Relevant info (I): Core Mission “provide Information Technology services to internal customers in several levels of the State Government administration and also to the citizens of the State. ” Software engineers are under here! Relevant info (II): Employee selecion “since the Brazilian Constitution of 1998, public employees must be hired through an open process with universal access, based on objective criteria. ” Relevant info (III): Job Stability “all public employees have job stability after a probation period of 3 years of work in the public sector (State Law Nº. 6.123/68). ”
  22. 22. B. How individuals understand Motivation 2 Contrasting views “the set of existing conditions that facilitated performing job related tasks or activities”  “Motivation is the provision of a good working environment, suited for me, where I can carry out my activities with no hindrances” (Software Engineer);  “[Motivation occurs when] the organization has everything that allows the employee to perform well his/hers activities” (Director). “a willingness to perform (better) towards some objective”  “It [Motivation] is a spontaneous desire to do something right, to produce better, with pleasure” (Software Engineer)  “Motivation is finding common objectives among the organization, directors, and employees (…) so that everybody values these objectives and strive to achieve them” (Director). June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 23
  23. 23. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 24 Task Team Organization
  24. 24. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 25 Task Team Organization Task Significance: “government is perceived primarily as a service provider rather than a goods producer” (Perry and Porter, 1982)
  25. 25. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 26 Task Team Organization Curious factor: Knowledge from other domain has not been mentioned in previous research (França et al, 2011)
  26. 26. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 27 “Task Variety / Intellectual Problem Solving” dillema: Mediator: Type of Project (Development/Maintenance) Task Team Organization
  27. 27. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 28 Task Team Organization
  28. 28. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 29 Task Team Organization “Sometimes I feel demotivated and I see other people working and showing results… I don’t feel envy. Instead, I become motivated to follow their behavior” (Software engineer) Equity Theory (Adams, 1963)
  29. 29. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 30 Task Team Organization “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel”
  30. 30. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 31 Task Team Organization
  31. 31. C. What factors affect software engineers’ motivation? June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 32 Task Team Organization “Most of the people I met that left the organization went to other public organizations that [also] offered stability. Usually they seek for clearer professional careers and higher salaries” (Project Manager).
  32. 32. D. Signs of motivated behavior June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 33 How they feel How they behave How they contribute to the project success
  33. 33. D. Signs of motivated behavior June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 34 Team Affect other team mates’ motivation Voluntary Work How they feel How they behave How they contribute to the project success
  34. 34. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 35 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) +
  35. 35. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 36 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) + Proposition 1: “Task Significance and Job Stability form the main attractors for software engineers to work and stay in the organization, and other motivating organizational characteristics reinforce the strength of this attraction, consequently increasing positive outcomes and lowering the Intention to Leave the organization.
  36. 36. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 37 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) + Proposition 2: “the motivating force of Task Variety and Intellectual Problem Solving is contingent on the type of software engineering task.”
  37. 37. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 38 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) + Proposition 3: “the motivating force of the need to acquire Knowledge from Different domains is moderated by individual characteristics, being higher for those individuals that like constant learning and skill development.”
  38. 38. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 39 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) + Proposition 4: “Poor Career Development Support, reinforced by other poorly designed organizational characteristics, frustrates the Growth Needs of software engineers, increasing the Intension to Leave the organization.”
  39. 39. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 40 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) + Proposition 5: “team Cohesion and Synergy act as moderators of the negative impact of poor organizational characteristics, at least up to a certain level and for a limited period of time.”
  40. 40. E, F. Relating factors and reconstructing the central story of the case June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 41 Job Stability Task Significance - Intention to leave Task Variety (Contingent) - + Synergy and Cohesion (High) - Goal/Priority Settings (Political) + Growth Needs (Frustrated) Career Planning Support (Poor) Reward System (Unfair) + + Workload (High) Quality of Management (Poor) Feedback (Poor) + Proposition 6: “Goal and priorities defined based on political instead of technical arguments act as a negative force on software engineer motivation that decreases organizational Commitment and increases Intention to Leave.”
  41. 41. Agenda • Introduction • Research Method • Results • Conclusion June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 42
  42. 42. Discussion General observations Main contributions June 28, 2013 EASE 2012 43 • We present a theory that explains the complex interplay among motivational factors at the task, organization, and individual levels • Complement previous descriptive models, such as the MOCC • Multi-case replicable design • While some factors seem to be manageable, others are strongly inherent to the context. • How to apply our findings to improve the motivational aspects of the organization? • Generalization to other contexts should not be carried out directly. However, our findings can be reinterpreted in other contexts, provided factors are carefully translated. (Sharp et al., 2009) Future Work • Cross-case analysis of the 4 case studies • Compare and integrate with other case studies (using meta-ethnography)
  43. 43. Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case Study of a Government Organization A. César C. França, Adelnei L. C. Felix, Fabio Q. B. da Silva Center of Informatics Federal University of Pernambuco Recife, Brazil cesarfranca@gmail.com, adelnei.felix@gmail.com, fabio@cin.ufpe.br Thank You! (Questions?)
  44. 44. Towards an Explanatory Theory of Motivation in Software Engineering: A Qualitative Case Study of a Government Organization by A. César C. França, Adelnei de L. C. Felix, Fabio Q. B. da Silva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at the 16th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, Ciudad Real, 2012. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.haseresearch.com

×