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Acquiring and sharing tacit knowledge in software development teams: an empirical study

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dc.contributor.author Ryan, Sharon
dc.contributor.author O'Connor, Rory V.
dc.date.accessioned 2013-08-09T14:45:15Z
dc.date.available 2013-08-09T14:45:15Z
dc.date.issued 2013
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/3304
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Context: Sharing expert knowledge is a key process in developing software products. Since expert knowledge is mostly tacit, the acquisition and sharing of tacit knowledge along with the development of a transactive memory system (TMS) are significant factors in effective software teams. Objective: We seek to enhance our understanding human factors in the software development process and provide support for the agile approach, particularly in its advocacy of social interaction, by answering two questions: How do software development teams acquire and share tacit knowledge? What roles do tacit knowledge and transactive memory play in successful team performance? Method: A theoretical model describing the process for acquiring and sharing tacit knowledge and development of a TMS through social interaction is presented and a second predictive model addresses the two research questions above. The elements of the predictive model and other demographic variables were incorporated into a larger online survey for software development teams, completed by 46 software SMEs, consisting of 181 individual team members. Results: Our results show that team tacit knowledge is acquired and shared directly through good quality social interactions and through the development of a TMS with quality of social interaction playing a greater role than transactive memory. Both TMS and team tacit knowledge predict effectiveness but not efficiency in software teams. Conclusion: It is concluded that TMS and team tacit knowledge can differentiate between low- and high-performing teams in terms of effectiveness, where more effective teams have a competitive advantage in developing new products and bringing them to market. As face-to-face social interaction is key, collocated, functionally rich, domain expert teams are advocated rather than distributed teams, though arguably the team manager may be in a separate geographic location provided that there is frequent communication and effective use of issue tracking tools as in agile teams. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Information and Software Technology;55(9), pp. 1614-1624
dc.relation.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infsof.2013.02.013
dc.rights This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Information and Software Technology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Information and Software Technology, 55(9), pp. 1614-1624 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infsof.2013.02.013 en_US
dc.subject tacit knowledge en_US
dc.subject transactive memory en_US
dc.subject social interaction en_US
dc.subject agile teams en_US
dc.subject team performance en_US
dc.title Acquiring and sharing tacit knowledge in software development teams: an empirical study en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.contributor.sponsor SFI en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US


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