||This thesis investigates the topic of leadership in the online communties of unpaid contributors who
develop “open-source” software like the Linux kernel and the Apache web server. Such
communities have lately been the focus of different studies. However, little research has been
conducted on leadership in such environment. This thesis provides a contribution to this topic,
focusing on the expectations contributors hold towards an open-source project leader. Specifically,
the aim of this work is to identify the main factors describing the open-source contributors’ personal
believes concerning the characteristics of a “good project leader”.
The paper is divided into two parts: 1) Existing knowledge, 2) Research objective and analysis.
Part 1 presents only existing knowledge. The first chapter contains background information on
open-source software and the social-technical phenomenon behind its development. Understanding
what open-source software is, why it is produced, and the customs of the community behind its
development, is important to frame the discussion on leadership. Chapter 2 introduces the approach
used to investigate the topic of “good leadership” in the open-source environment, and states why it
is worth being studied. Chapter 3 reports an in depth description of the theoretical model chosen for
Part 2 contains all that is new, and is the result of the collection of empirical data and application of
statistical analysis. Chapter 4 reports the early observations that inspired the aim of this thesis, the
research objective and the steps undertaken to achieve it. Chapter 5 and 6 present both different
stages of data collection and analysis. Chapter 7 and 8 present respectively a discussion of the
analysis and conclusions.