César França, Helen Sharp, Fabio Q. B. da Silva


Context – Motivation and job satisfaction are not the same thing, and although business organization research recognized this a long time ago, in Software Engineering research, we have not. As a result, thirty years of research on motivation in software engineering has produced knowledge on what makes software engineers generally happier, but not about how to increase their motivation. Goal – In this article, we aim to identify visible signs of a software engineer who is motivated to work. Method – We describe a field study in which 62 practitioners in Brazil reported their view of “motivation” in the context of their practical work. Data was collected by means of audio-recorded semi-structured interviews, and a thematic analysis was applied to identify the most relevant descriptors of motivation. Results – Our data reveal that (1) motivated Software Engineers are engaged, focused, and collaborative; and (2) the term “motivation” is used as an umbrella term to cover several distinct organizational behaviours that are not necessarily related to the individual´s desire to work. Conclusions – Without a clear picture of the difference between these two concepts, work-based motivation programs may not be designed effectively to address either turnover or performance issues. Overall, this work indicates the need for a more effective conceptual system to investigate and encourage both job
satisfaction and work motivation in software engineering research and practice.

Date: 2014
Published: ESEM ’14 Proceedings of the 8th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement 

Publisher: ACM
Publisher URL: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2652524.2652545
Full text: http://delivery.acm.org/10.1145/2660000/2652545/a32-franca.pdf?ip=

DOI: 10.1145/2652524.2652545