Optimizing Software Team Performance with Cultural Differences

AbstractSoftware development is primarily a team task that requires a high degree of coordination among team members. Prior research has indicated that the composition of team member traits such as personality and culture can influence the performance of software teams. However, this line of research does not give practical guidance on how to build teams with personnel constraints. Some research has built teams by starting with personality. However, cultural traits—which are also known to influence team performance—have not been examined in the same manner. This research, therefore, builds upon this stream by: 1) examining the effects of Hofstede’s latest six-dimensional model of national culture, 2) segmenting potential software team members into distinct cultural clusters, and 3) testing the outcomes of teams built upon homogeneous versus heterogeneous cultural compositions over time. Our results indicate that—consistent with prior research—homogenous team compositions are initially better for performance. However, this effect reverses over time, and ultimately heterogenous team compositions are superior.

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