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Communication and Personality Profiles of Global Software Developers

by   Sherlock A. Licorish, et al.

Context: Prior research has established that a small proportion of individuals dominate team communication during global software development. It is not known, however, how these members' contributions affect their teams' knowledge diffusion process, or whether their personality profiles are responsible for their dominant presence. Objective: We set out to address this gap through the study of repository artifacts. Method: Artifacts from ten teams were mined from the IBM Rational Jazz repository. We employed social network analysis (SNA) to group practitioners into two clusters, Top Members and Others, based on the numbers of messages they communicated and their engagement in task changes. SNA metrics (density, in-degree and closeness) were then used to study practitioners' importance in knowledge diffusion. Thereafter, we performed psycholinguistic analysis on practitioners' messages using linguistic dimensions that had been previously correlated with the Big Five personality profiles. Results: For our sample of 146 practitioners we found that Top Members occupied critical roles in knowledge diffusion, and demonstrated more openness to experience than the Others. Additionally, all personality profiles were represented during teamwork, although openness to experience, agreeableness and extroversion were particularly evident. However, no specific personality predicted members' involvement in knowledge diffusion. Conclusion: Task assignment that promotes highly connected team communication networks may mitigate tacit knowledge loss in global software teams. Additionally, while members expressing openness to experience are likely to be particularly driven to perform, this is not entirely responsible for a global team's success.


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