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An initial analysis of differences in software engineers' attitudes towards organizational change

Conference paper
Authors Per Lenberg
Emil Alégroth
Robert Feldt
Lars Göran Wallgren
Published in 9th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering (CHASE). Austin, Texas, United States: 14 May 2016
ISBN 978-145034155-4
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1145/2897586.2897592
Subject categories Software Engineering

Abstract

The ability to manage change is important in software engineering organizations, where rapid progress in technologies and constantly evolving methodologies create a turbulent environment. Research has identified employees' attitudes towards organizational change as a key factor in the change process. Nonetheless, few studies exist that explore such attitudes in a software engineering context. The nature of change efforts is such that they often do not equally affect the various roles in the organization, which indicates that the roles may hold different attitudes. This study aimed to verify the existence of these presumed differences in attitudes towards organizational change between roles in a software engineering organization and to identify factors that contribute to these differences. The result of a survey (N=51) confirmed that there were significant differences, and that the software developers had a more positive attitude towards change and had deeper knowledge about the intended outcome compared to the line managers. The result of in-depth interviews (N=11) revealed that the software engineers evaluate the planned change in relation to the norms, values and standards of their peer group, meaning that an employee will have a positive attitude towards a change if its result is likely to make, or has made, it easier for him/her to uphold the peer group's norms and values.

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