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Social Status in an Open Source Community: A Status Characteristics Perspective

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Abstract:

Open source software is developed by Internet-based communities of self-organized volunteer software programmers distributed worldwide, and usually, it is made freely available to the public. We examine the social dynamics of one such community, Advogato.org, whose mission is to provide computer programmers with a space to connect with other programmers to work with them on software projects, to develop their software prowess, and to have their performance evaluated by other programmers using a peer certification system. We submit that during programming projects, status generalization is creeping into group project dynamics, and is part of the peer certification that occurs after project completion. Using software that we developed, we randomly scraped the websites of Advogato.org members to capture the performance evaluations of members and other status information to determine if status characteristics were associated with levels of these performance evaluations, which are markers of members’ social status. We found that in our sample (N=291), controlling for formal role position and number of contributions to other projects, age and being from a high-tech location were significantly associated with social status, and are diffuse status characteristics for this organization. Level of education was not associated with social status. Also, years of programming experience was associated with social status, and is thus a proxy for the specific status characteristic “computer programming ability”. Theoretical strategies for capturing organizational level processes that bound the salience of status characteristics are discussed, as are intervention strategies to eliminate the deleterious effects of diffuse status characteristics within this organization.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

status (255), social (125), characterist (110), age (89), programm (81), group (69), member (68), project (58), program (55), high (54), comput (54), sourc (49), level (47), j (44), year (44), one (44), 1 (44), open (44), model (43), develop (42), berger (41),
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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MLA Citation:

Bianchi, Alison., Kang, Soong. and Stewart, Daniel. "Social Status in an Open Source Community: A Status Characteristics Perspective" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, Aug 08, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p309382_index.html>

APA Citation:

Bianchi, A. J., Kang, S. M. and Stewart, D. , 2009-08-08 "Social Status in an Open Source Community: A Status Characteristics Perspective" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Online <PDF>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p309382_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Open source software is developed by Internet-based communities of self-organized volunteer software programmers distributed worldwide, and usually, it is made freely available to the public. We examine the social dynamics of one such community, Advogato.org, whose mission is to provide computer programmers with a space to connect with other programmers to work with them on software projects, to develop their software prowess, and to have their performance evaluated by other programmers using a peer certification system. We submit that during programming projects, status generalization is creeping into group project dynamics, and is part of the peer certification that occurs after project completion. Using software that we developed, we randomly scraped the websites of Advogato.org members to capture the performance evaluations of members and other status information to determine if status characteristics were associated with levels of these performance evaluations, which are markers of members’ social status. We found that in our sample (N=291), controlling for formal role position and number of contributions to other projects, age and being from a high-tech location were significantly associated with social status, and are diffuse status characteristics for this organization. Level of education was not associated with social status. Also, years of programming experience was associated with social status, and is thus a proxy for the specific status characteristic “computer programming ability”. Theoretical strategies for capturing organizational level processes that bound the salience of status characteristics are discussed, as are intervention strategies to eliminate the deleterious effects of diffuse status characteristics within this organization.


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