Socialization in Open Source Software Projects : A Growth Mixture Modeling Approach

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-238
Journal / PublicationOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


The success of open source software (OSS) projects depends heavily on the voluntary participation of a large number of developers. To remain sustainable, it is vital for an OSS project community to maintain a critical mass of core developers. Yet, only a small number of participants (identified here as "joiners") can successfully socialize themselves into the core developer group. Despite the importance of joiners' socialization behavior, quantitative longitudinal research in this area is lacking. This exploratory study examines joiners' temporal socialization trajectories and their impacts on joiners' status progression. Guided by social resource theory and using the growth mixture modeling (GMM) approach to study 133 joiners in 40 OSS projects, the authors found that these joiners differed in both their initial levels and their growth trajectories of socialization and identified four distinct classes of joiner socialization behavior. They also found that these distinct latent classes of joiners varied in their status progression within their communities. The implications for research and practice are correspondingly discussed. © 2011 The Author(s).

Research Area(s)

  • latent class analysis, latent class growth models, latent growth models, longitudinal data analysis, quantitative: structural equation modeling