How does Motivation Relate to Developer Turnover? A Quantitative Study with Developers in Brazil


This paper reports on a quantitative study (composed of an online form with 24 Likert-scale questions, answered by 78 Brazilian developers about their last job, ran between November 2017 and March 2018) concerning the relationship between motivation and turnover with developers working in Brazil, world's ninth largest market for information technology (1st in Latin America). The results from this study may be compared with data from other software markets, in order to help organizations in understanding and addressing major motivation issues that could eventually lead to turnover, carrying out efforts to minimize the known high rate of developer turnover.

Research Questions and Metrics

RQ1. What is the relationship between motivation aspects and voluntary turnover with Brazilian software professionals?

For this measurement, we apply a model of the psychology called Job Characteristic Model (JCM) [Hackman and Oldham et a.].

RQ2: What is the relationship between motivation aspects and personal demographic information (Job Position, Study Level, Age) in the last job?

We analyze the behavior of all motivation aspects (Skill Variety, Task Identity, Job Significance, Autonomy, Job Feedback, Work Exhaustion and Job Satisfaction) compared with collected demographic data (Job Position, Study Level, and Age).

RQ3: What is the correlation between motivation aspects?

We measure the correlation rates with Spearman rho index [Spearman et al.] between the answers (score) for each motivation aspects.

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