Effects of Social Identity Processes on Coordination and Knowledge Sharing in Geographically Distributed Software Teams
Distributed work environment suffers issues such as lack of mutual knowledge, ineffective knowledge sharing, lack of trust and coordination and interpersonal conflicts. The author conducted an empirical investigation in two projects each employing a hybrid offshore software development model to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying issues. The case study approach allowed for the study of phenomenon in a real-work context. Open-ended semi-structured interviews were conducted as a primary means of data collection. An interpretive analysis using a framework of social identity theory revealed that the in-group/out-group effect generated by a geographical faultline was further severed or diluted by two factors: individual mobility â a realistic opportunity to become a member of other group and the common expertise between two sub-teams. The study concluded with an observation that the absence of these factors resulted in strong group stereotypes, which in turn caused stronger inter-group behaviour.
In-group, out-group, social identity, social categorisation, virtual teams, distributed work, coordination and knowledge sharing
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