Social Networks Structures in Open Source Software Development Teams

Social Networks Structures in Open Source Software Development Teams

Yuan Long (Colorado State University-Pueblo, USA) and Keng Siau (Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-172-8.ch018
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Abstract

Drawing on social network theories and previous studies, this research examines the dynamics of social network structures in Open Source Software (OSS) teams. Three projects were selected from Source- Forge.net in terms of their similarities as well as their differences. Monthly data were extracted from the bug tracking systems in order to achieve a longitudinal view of the interaction pattern of each project. Social network analysis was used to generate the indices of social structure. The finding suggests that the interaction pattern of OSS projects evolves from a single hub at the beginning to a core/periphery model as the projects move forward.
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Literature Review

The phenomenon of OSS development has attracted considerable attention from both practitioners and researchers in diverse fields, such as computer science, social psychology, organization, and management. Because of the multifaceted nature of OSS, researchers have investigated OSS phenomenon from varied perspectives. For example, focusing on technical perspective, researchers studied issues such as OSS development methodology (e.g., Jørgensen, 2001) and coding quality (e.g., Stamelos, Angelis, Oikonomu, & Bleris, 2002). Based on social psychology, researchers investigated individual motivation (e.g., Hann, Robert, & Slaughter, 2004), new developers (Von Krogh, Spaeth, & Lakhani 2003), the social network (e.g., Madey, Freeh, & Tynan, 2002), and the social structure (e.g., Crowston & Howison, 2005). In terms of organizational and managerial perspective, researchers examined knowledge innovation (e.g., Hemetsberger 2004; Lee & Cole 2003, Von Hippel & von Krogh, 2003) and the governance mechanism (e.g., Sagers 2004).

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