Motivating software engineers: A Theoretically Reflective Model

N. Baddoo, Sarah Beecham, Tracy Hall, Hugh Robinson, Helen Sharp

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We present a model of motivation for software engineers. Our model suggests that software engineers are motivated by two sets of factors, intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, where a subset of intrinsic motivators are aspects inherent in the job that software engineers do. It shows that software engineers are orientated towards these particular sets of motivators because of their characteristics, which in turn are mediated by individual personality traits and environmental factors. Our model shows that the external outcomes of software engineers' motivation are benefits like staff retention, increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. Our model is derived from a Systematic Literature Review of motivation in software engineering. We have constructed this model by engaging in practices that reflect good principles of model building as prescribed by operational research and scientific management discipline. We evaluate our model for theoretical efficacy and show that our model, in comparison to other attempts at modeling software engineers' motivation, reflects a wide range of the classic concepts that underpin the subject area of motivation. We argue that, this theoretical efficacy validates the model and therefore improves confidence in its use. We Suggest that our model serves as a valuable starting point for managers wanting to understand how to get the best out of software engineers, and individuals wanting to understand their own motivation or who are embarking on career choice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICEIS 2008 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
EditorsJ Cordeiro, J Filipe
Place of PublicationSetubal
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-989-8111-40-1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventICEIS 2008 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 12 Jun 200816 Jun 2008


ConferenceICEIS 2008


  • Motivation
  • model
  • theory
  • software engineer
  • systematic literature review


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