CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Francisco J. Mitropoulos

Committee Member

Gurvirender P. Tejay

Abstract

Recent advances in information technologies and subsequent explosive growth of computer software use in practically all aspects of everyday life provide tremendous opportunities and benefits for improving people's lives. However, significant proportion of software projects represents cancelled, abandoned or otherwise failed projects. This situation exists not only in commercial software products or government information systems, but also in an increasingly popular and important domain of free/libre and open source software (FLOSS).

The problem of failures in software development projects requires identification and understanding of the factors of success and their interrelationships. Practice and previous research suggest that governance of software development projects plays crucial role in their success. Increasing adoption and sponsorship of FLOSS by commercial firms and government organizations present additional challenges; such sponsorship may also interact with governance in FLOSS projects and play a role in determining their success.

This dissertation focused on analyzing the role and significance of governance and organizational sponsorship in the success of FLOSS development. This study used both conceptual analysis and empirical methods. The conceptual analysis phase, a preliminary study based on the review of existing literature, produced a partial model of success in FLOSS development. This model was verified in an empirical phase, which statistically analyzed data from multiple FLOSS repositories and other public sources. The statistical analysis was based on structural equation modeling (SEM) approach.

Results of this study did not confirm hypothesized effects of the main two factors (governance and organizational sponsorship) on FLOSS success, but confirmed a positive effect of project maturity on the success. The likely reason of the lack of support for the main factors is unavailability of sufficient and correct data for proper operationalization. This and other uncovered issues are planned to be addressed in the future research on the topic, for which this dissertation formed a solid conceptual and data analysis framework.

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