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Social Identity in Software Development

Conference paper
Authors Andreas Bäckevik
Erik Tholén
Lucas Gren
Published in 2019 IEEE/ACM 12th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering (CHASE)
ISBN 978-1-7281-2240-3
ISSN 2574-1780
Publisher IEEE/ACM
Publication year 2019
Published at Institutionen för data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering (GU)
Language en
Links https://ieeexplore-ieee-org.ezproxy...
Subject categories Social Psychology, Applied Psychology, Software Engineering


An agile approach has become very popular over the last decade, which requires good communication and teamwork within teams as well as with outside stakeholders. Therefore, social interaction is central for a software development team to be successful. Such social interactions form social identities and social structures in both teams and organizations. This study investigates possible effects that the social identity of individuals may have on the effectiveness of software development through seven in-dept interviews. The qualitative data from interviews were analyzed and summarized using summative content analysis, and the seven individuals also answered a questionnaire on social identity taken from social psychology research. The qualitative result shows that aspects of social identity affect software developers' behavior, and that we need to build cross-functional stable teams over time also from a pure social identity perspective in addition to the product related aspects to avoid a decreased effectiveness. However, we did not see clear connections to our operationalization of effectiveness in this study, and the quantitative analysis was also inconclusive, but we see value in our suggested method when investigating social identity in software development.

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