Towards understanding the underlying structure of motivational factors for software engineers to guide the definition of motivational programs
Aim: In this article, factors influencing the motivation of software engineers is studied with the goal of guiding the definition of motivational programs. Method: Using a set of 20 motivational factors compiled in a systematic literature review and a general theory of motivation, a survey questionnaire was created to evaluate the influence of these factors on individual motivation. Then, the questionnaire was applied on a semi-random sample of 176 software engineers from 20 software companies located in Recife-PE, Brazil. Results: The survey results show the actual level of motivation for each motivator in the target population. Using principal component analysis on the values of all motivators, a five factor structure was identified and used to propose a guideline for the creation of motivational programs for software engineers. Conclusions: The five factor structure provides an intuitive categorization for the set of variables and can be used to explain other motivational models presented in the literature. This contributes to a better understanding of motivation in software engineering.