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Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
a Novel Theoretical Framework for Software Engineering
Research and Practice
Stefano Lambiase, Gemma Catolino, Bice Della Piana,
Filomena Ferrucci, Fabio Palomba
Stefano Lambiase
@StefanoLambiase
slambiase@unisa.it
https://stefanolambiase.github.io
I want it to work now!
If we start using it now, we will see
greater bene
fi
ts in some years…
I want it to work now!
Let’s try new things!
Since it has always worked,
why should we change?
If we start using it now, we will see
greater bene
fi
ts in some years…
I want it to work now!
Let’s try new things!
Since it has always worked,
why should we change?
Personality
Preferences Education
If we start using it now, we will see
greater bene
fi
ts in some years…
Culture
Let’s try new things!
Since it has always worked,
why should we change?
I want it to work now!
If we start using it now, we will see
greater bene
fi
ts in some years…
“The collective programming
of the mind that
distinguishes the members
of one group or category of
people from others.”
Culture
— Geert Hofstede
Culture
Let’s try new things!
Since it has always worked,
why should we change?
I want it to work now!
If we start using it now, we will see
greater bene
fi
ts in some years…
Culture
Let’s try new things!
Since it has always worked,
why should we change?
I want it to work now!
Uncertainty Avoidance
How much individuals in a
community tend to tolerate and
do new and unfamiliar things.
If we start using it now, we will see
greater bene
fi
Power Distance
Gender Egalitarianism
In-Group Collectivism
Uncertainty Avoidance
Future Orientation
Assertiveness
Software Development is a
Socio-Technical Activity
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Stray and Moe
“Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack”
Journal of Systems and Software, 2020
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Distributed Software Development is a
Difficult Socio-Technical Activity
Stray and Moe
“Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack”
Journal of Systems and Software, 2020
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Distributed Software Development is a
Difficult Socio-Technical Activity
Communication and Collaboration Socio-Technical Aspects
Stray and Moe
“Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack”
Journal of Systems and Software, 2020
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Distributed Software Development is a
Difficult Socio-Technical Activity
Cultural Aspects
Communication and Collaboration Socio-Technical Aspects
Researchers tend to treat
culture abstractly, without relying
on affirmed frameworks.
Researchers tend to treat
culture abstractly, without relying
on affirmed frameworks. Since no global view is provided,
no (grounded) theoretical models
are available in the literature.
Studying how
affect
Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities
Cultural Differences between developers
Study Objective
Studying how
affect
Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities
Cultural Differences between developers
Study Objective
How?
Studying how
affect
Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities
Study Objective
Cultural Differences between developers
How?
Studying how
affect
Cultural Differences between developers
Study Objective
Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities
How?
How?
Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory
for Data Analysis
Collect data using semi-structured interviews with practitioners
from the distributed software development context.
Analyze data using coding, constant comparison, and memoing
methods to let concepts and categories emerge.
Repeat to reach saturation.
Semi-Structured
Interviews
Data Gathering Data Analysis
STGT for Data
Analysis
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion
Performance Orientation
Dispersion
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Remote Working]
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Remote Working]
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Letting individualists being individualists
Creating guidelines and
organizing training
In-group Collectivism (High)
Team members
became happier
[Positive]
Productivity
increased
[Positive]
Create discussion groups that
improve the development
[Positive]
Provide idea for
improving products
[Positive]
Organizing internal groups
talking about diversities
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
Reduce
Overlooking
[Positive]
Assertiveness
Dispersion
Moderating
Communication
Ending each meeting
by clearly repeating
the tasks and duties
each person has to do
Part of the team with In-group
Collectivism (High)
Clearly communicate
what types of risks need
to be mitigated in groups
and in isolation
Training newcomers to
handle cultural differences
by creating guidelines
Monitoring cultural variations
Power Distance
Dispersion
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Creating guidelines and
organizing training for enforce
cultural awareness and intelligence
Information and Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
LEGEND
Makes the outnumbered
party unhappy
[Negative]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Theory of
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
248 Codes — 38 Concepts —
4 Categories — 6 Preliminary Theoretical Models
Results
How?
Power Distance
Dispersion
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Contributes to ...
Performance Orientation
Dispersion
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
In-group Collectivism (High)
Contributes to ...
Reduce
Overlooking
Increase
Productivity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Create discussion groups that
improve the development
Provide idea for
improving products
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion
Organizing internal groups
talking about diversities
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
Creating guidelines and
organizing training
Mitigates ...
Assertiveness
Dispersion
Could cause ...
Part of the team with In-group
Collectivism (High)
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Moderating
Communication
Ending each meeting
by clearly repeating
the tasks and duties
each person has to do
Clearly communicate
what types of risks need
to be mitigated in groups
and in isolation
Training newcomers to
handle cultural differences
by creating guidelines
Monitoring cultural variations
Mitigates ...
Mitigates
...
Contributes to ...
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
248 Codes — 38 Concepts —
4 Categories — 6 Preliminary Theoretical Models
Results
How?
Power Distance
Dispersion
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Contributes to ...
Performance Orientation
Dispersion
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
In-group Collectivism (High)
Contributes to ...
Reduce
Overlooking
Increase
Productivity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Create discussion groups that
improve the development
Provide idea for
improving products
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion
Organizing internal groups
talking about diversities
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
Creating guidelines and
organizing training
Mitigates ...
Assertiveness
Dispersion
Could cause ...
Part of the team with In-group
Collectivism (High)
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Moderating
Communication
Ending each meeting
by clearly repeating
the tasks and duties
each person has to do
Clearly communicate
what types of risks need
to be mitigated in groups
and in isolation
Training newcomers to
handle cultural differences
by creating guidelines
Monitoring cultural variations
Mitigates ...
Mitigates
...
Contributes to ...
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Applicable
Extendable
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Strategies for Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Co-Starring
Dimensions
Could cause…
Mitigates…
Could cause…
Six models, one for each concept
of the category “Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion.”
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Theory at
Category Level
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
Contributes to…
Strategies for Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Co-Starring
Dimensions
Could cause…
Mitigates…
Could cause…
Theory at
Category Level
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
Contributes to…
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
It refers to situations in which a
difference in the team in terms of
cultural behaviors led to some effect
(both positive and negative).
Each concept in this category
expresses the act of dealing with
dispersion in terms of a specific
Cultural dimension.
Strategies for Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Co-Starring
Dimensions
Mitigates…
Could cause…
Theory at
Category Level
Contributes to…
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
It describes the effect (positive and
negative) deriving from situations in
which there was collaboration
between a team culturally dispersed.
Each concept in this category
expresses an effect, and each effect
is associated with an attribute that
expresses if it is positive or negative
for the community members and its
management.
Could cause…
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
Strategies for Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Mitigates…
Could cause…
Theory at
Category Level
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Co-Starring Dimensions
This category operationalizes
situations in which the influence of a
particular cultural background (other
than dispersal) contributes to
generating an effect.
Could cause…
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
Co-Starring
Dimensions
Contributes to…
Theory at
Category Level
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Strategies for Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Such a category relates to how
practitioners deal with cultural
dispersion-originated issues in their
teams and its consequent effects.
Each concept in this category
expresses a strategy (related to
some effect of dispersion) for
mitigating it.
Could cause…
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
Co-Starring
Dimensions
Contributes to…
Strategies for Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Mitigates…
Could cause…
Theory at
Concepts Level
It describes situations in which community members
have divergent views on membership and loyalty to
their team.
In Group Collectivism
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
I am a good manager!
Mario Rossi
A generic Manager
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Value
Proposition
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Oh.... I recognize this patterns in
my team!
Mario Rossi
A generic Manager
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Value
Proposition
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Oh.... But this is
exactly my problem…
So this is the reason!
Mario Rossi
A generic Manager
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Value
Proposition
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Oh... I can solve it like this!
Great!
Mario Rossi
A generic Manager
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Value
Proposition
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Oh... I can solve it like this!
Great!
Mario Rossi
A generic Manager
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Value
Proposition
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
T
H
E
E
N
D Theory of Dealing With
Cultural Dispersion
Stefano Lambiase
@StefanoLambiase
slambiase@unisa.it
https://stefanolambiase.github.io
Power Distance
Dispersion
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Contributes to ...
Performance Orientation
Dispersion
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
In-group Collectivism (High)
Contributes to ...
Reduce
Overlooking
Increase
Productivity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Create discussion groups that
improve the development
Provide idea for
improving products
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion
Organizing internal groups
talking about diversities
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
Creating guidelines and
organizing training
Mitigates ...
Assertiveness
Dispersion
Could cause ...
Part of the team with In-group
Collectivism (High)
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Moderating
Communication
Ending each meeting
by clearly repeating
the tasks and duties
each person has to do
Clearly communicate
what types of risks need
to be mitigated in groups
and in isolation
Training newcomers to
handle cultural differences
by creating guidelines
Monitoring cultural variations
Mitigates ...
Mitigates
...
Contributes to ...
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Backup slides
Future Work
“The most important step a man can take. It's not the
fi
rst one, is it? It's the next one. Always the next step.”
– Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer
Future Work
“The most important step a man can take. It's not the
fi
rst one, is it? It's the next one. Always the next step.”
– Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer
Our preliminary theory is the result of a preliminary STGT investigation
Future Work
“The most important step a man can take. It's not the
fi
rst one, is it? It's the next one. Always the next step.”
– Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer
Our preliminary theory is the result of a preliminary STGT investigation
Conducting ulterior steps of STGT to
obtain a complete Grounded Theory
Complementing the qualitative
fi
nding
with quantitative studies
How?
Research Method
“Grounded theory is a rigorous research method that enables
systematic and evidence-based development of theory. GT is
a complete research method that covers data collection,
analysis, and more advanced steps of theory development.”
Socio-Technical Grounded Theory
for Data Analysis
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
How?
Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory
for Data Analysis
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
How?
Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory
for Data Analysis
Rahina Hoda
“Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering”
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Bice Della Piana
Stefano Lambiase, Gemma Catolino,
Filomena Ferrucci, Fabio Palomba
Cross-cultural Management Research
Cross-cultural Management Research
Qualitative Research, Socio-Technical
Research, Theory Development
How?
Research Method Participant Selection
10 Practitioners with experience
in Culturally Dispersed Teams
Participants
3 Iterations
Each Interview of approximately 60 minutes
Possessing experience with distributed teams.
Having at least ten years of experience in the
software industry.
Having experience in managing software
development teams.
How?
Research Method Participant Selection
Transferability
10 Practitioners with experience
in Culturally Dispersed Teams
Participants
3 Iterations
Each Interview of approximately 60 minutes
How?
Semi-Structured
Interviews
Data Gathering Data Analysis
STGT for Data
Analysis
Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory
for Data Analysis
Analysis Strategy
Open Coding, Constant
Comparison, and Memoing
P1. I have an individual who
strongly favors working alone, to
the extent that collaborating with
others has become problematic.
This situation arose because there
was a segment of the team that
preferred teamwork, and it
consistently resulted in conflicts
when this person had to work
alongside others.
P9. We had a collaborative team,
but some preferred working alone,
causing problems. One person got
fired for not participating in team
activities, which were a part of our
company's Extreme Programming
practices, including pair
programming and daily meetings.
Even in remote work, the company
encouraged active engagement
with cameras on. This individual
often didn't participate in pair
programming, wasn't an active
listener, and create problems.
Quotations Key Points Codes Concepts
P3. Unfortunately, the situation has
been frustrating. We had a project
with developers on the X side and
Y testers. The head of testing, a
woman, faced challenges due to
the X workplace culture's limited
acceptance of women. This
created issues, as we had talented
female team members who were
not treated equally.
There is a team
member who
strongly prefers
working alone,
leading to
conflicts with the
teamwork-
oriented segment
of the team.
Team faced
problems due to
one member's
reluctance to
participate in
collaborative
activities, leading
to its firing.
The head of
testing, a woman,
encountered
challenges in an
environment that
did not readily
accept women in
prominent roles.
- Conflict
- In Group Collectivism
- Dispersion
- Challenging
- Problems
- In Group Collectivism
- Dispersion
- Firing
- Not accepted
- Gender Egalitarism
- Dispersion
- Challenging
Dealing with In Group
Collectivism Dispersion is
challenging
Such a situation rises
conflicts
Dealing with Gender
Egalitarism Dispersion is
challenging
Such a situation leads to
team member firing
Dealing
With
Cultural
Dispersion
Negative
Effects
Categories
How?
Semi-Structured
Interviews
Data Gathering Data Analysis
STGT for Data
Analysis
Research Method
10 Practitioners with experience
in Culturally Dispersed Teams
Participants Analysis Strategy
Open Coding, Constant
Comparison, and Memoing
Socio-Technical Grounded Theory
for Data Analysis
ICSE 2024 — Artifact Evaluation
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Category
It refers to situations in which a difference in the
team in terms of cultural behaviors led to some
effect (both positive and negative).
Each concept in this category expresses the act of
dealing with dispersion in terms of a specific
Cultural dimension.
• Dealing with Power Distance Index Dispersion
• Dealing with In-Group Collectivism Dispersion
• Dealing with Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion
• Dealing with Performance Orientation Dispersion
• Dealing with Assertiveness Dispersion
• Dealing with Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion
Concepts
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Effects of Cultural Dispersion
Category
It describes the effect (positive and negative)
deriving from situations in which there was
collaboration between a team culturally dispersed.
Each concept in this category expresses an effect,
and each effect is associated with an attribute that
expresses if it is positive or negative for the
community members and its management.
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Positive Effects Negative Effects
Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
Category
Such a category relates to how practitioners deal
with cultural dispersion-originated issues in their
teams and its consequent effects. Each concept in
this category expresses a strategy (related to some
effect of dispersion) for mitigating it.
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
• Clearly communicate the types of risks that require
mitigation both within groups and in isolation.
• Monitoring cultural variations
• Creating guidelines to train newcomers in handling
cultural differences.
• …
Concepts
Co-Starring Dimensions
Category
This category operationalizes situations in which the
influence of a particular cultural background (other
than dispersal) contributes to generating an effect.
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
[Information] [Cultural Dimension] (high/medium/low)
Concepts
Performance orientation (PO): it refers to the extent to which a
society encourages and rewards its members for performance
improvement and excellence; in direct relationship with
entrepreneurship, it refers to the degree to which innovation is
rewarded.
Future orientation (FO): it is associated to the degree to which
individuals in societies engage in future-oriented behaviors such as
planning and investing in the future. While future-oriented societies
value perseverance and patience, societies that are low in this
cultural dimension are more focused on short-term results.
Power distance (PD): it refers to the degree to which members of a
society expect and accept unequal distribution of power. In high
power distance societies, an unequal distribution of power is
accepted. On the other hand, in low power distance societies,
egalitarianism is emphasized.
Uncertainty Avoidance (UA): it refers to the extent to which
members of a society attempt to avoid uncertainty by relying on
established social norms and practices. Cultures with high scores of
uncertainty avoidance seek to reduce risk and ambiguity.
Humane Orientation (HO): it is the degree to which individuals in
societies encourage and reward individuals for being fair, altruistic,
friendly, generous, caring, and kind.
In-group Collectivism (GC): it is the degree to which individuals
express cohesiveness in their families or close groups.
Institutional collectivism (IC): it reflects the degree to which societal
institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of
resources and collective action.
Gender egalitarianism (GE): it refers to the extent to which a society
promotes gender equality and minimizes differences.
Assertiveness (A): it is the degree to which individuals in societies
are confrontational and tough in social relationships. In societies with
high assertiveness cultural scores, harmony is less emphasized than
expressing ones' opinions directly and frankly.
How do cultural differences
in software development
teams influence the
development lifecycle?
Our findings suggest that the impact is nuanced, with both positive
and negative effects, contingent on the level of managerial effort
invested in managing these differences effectively.
Our theoretical framework associates each effect to a specific
context, allowing practitioners and researchers to identify the origin
of the problem/benefit precisely.
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Power Distance
Dispersion
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Contributes to ...
Performance Orientation
Dispersion
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
In-group Collectivism (High)
Contributes to ...
Reduce
Overlooking
Increase
Productivity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Create discussion groups that
improve the development
Provide idea for
improving products
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion
Organizing internal groups
talking about diversities
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
Creating guidelines and
organizing training
Mitigates ...
Assertiveness
Dispersion
Could cause ...
Part of the team with In-group
Collectivism (High)
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Moderating
Communication
Ending each meeting
by clearly repeating
the tasks and duties
each person has to do
Clearly communicate
what types of risks need
to be mitigated in groups
and in isolation
Training newcomers to
handle cultural differences
by creating guidelines
Monitoring cultural variations
Mitigates ...
Mitigates
...
Contributes to ...
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
Implications for Researchers
Broaden the framework by conducting further research using different cultural frameworks
delve deeper into the existing categories within the framework by studying alternative
strategies for mitigating the negative effects
quantitatively investigate the impact of cultural dispersion on software development
Theory at
Concepts Level
It describes situations in which community members
have divergent views on membership and loyalty to
their team.
In Group Collectivism
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Productivity
increased
Team members
became happier
In-group Collectivism
Dispersion
Letting individualists being individualists
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Makes it difficult to evaluate team
member work and productivity
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Remote Working]
Makes people who want to collaborate in
individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable
[Negative]
It makes collaborative people isolate
themselves and discourage
[Negative]
Mitigates ...
Could cause ...
No Mitigation Strategies Provided
Dealing with
Cultural Dispersion
Negative
Effect
Positive
Effect
Strategy Context
Co-starring
Dimension
Legend
In-Group Collectivism
Theory at
Concepts Level
Assertiveness
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Assertiveness
Dispersion
Could cause ...
Part of the team with In-group
Collectivism (High)
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Risk
Hiding
[Negative]
Moderating
Communication
Ending each meeting
by clearly repeating
the tasks and duties
each person has to do
Clearly communicate
what types of risks need
to be mitigated in groups
and in isolation
Training newcomers to
handle cultural differences
by creating guidelines
Monitoring cultural variations
Mitigates ...
Mitigates
...
Contributes to ...
Assertiveness
Theory at
Concepts Level
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Reduce
Overlooking
Increase
Productivity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Uncertainty Avoidance
Theory at
Concepts Level
Power Distance
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Power Distance
Dispersion
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Contributes to ...
Reduce
Overlooking
Increase
Productivity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Dispersion
Getting people who express opposite
behaviors to work together
[Extreme/Pair
Programming]
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Power Distance
Theory at
Concepts Level
Performance Orientation
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Power Distance
Dispersion
Information
Hiding
[Negative]
Lose
Trust
[Negative]
Could cause ...
[Leader Assertiveness (High)]
Contributes to ...
Performance Orientation
Dispersion
Misunderstanding
during communication
[Negative]
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
In-group Collectivism (High)
Contributes to ...
Performance Orientation
Theory at
Concepts Level
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion Theory
R
e
s
u
l
t
s
Create discussion groups that
improve the development
Provide idea for
improving products
Gender Egalitarianism
Dispersion
Organizing internal groups
talking about diversities
[Positive] [Positive]
Contributes to ...
Could cause ...
Rise
Conflict
[Negative]
Could cause ...
Creating guidelines and
organizing training
Mitigates ...
Gender Egalitarianism
Dealing with Cultural Dispersion — Stefano Lambiase — ICSE-SEIS 2024

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Dealing with Cultural Dispersion — Stefano Lambiase — ICSE-SEIS 2024

  • 1. Dealing with Cultural Dispersion a Novel Theoretical Framework for Software Engineering Research and Practice Stefano Lambiase, Gemma Catolino, Bice Della Piana, Filomena Ferrucci, Fabio Palomba Stefano Lambiase @StefanoLambiase slambiase@unisa.it https://stefanolambiase.github.io
  • 2. I want it to work now! If we start using it now, we will see greater bene fi ts in some years…
  • 3. I want it to work now! Let’s try new things! Since it has always worked, why should we change? If we start using it now, we will see greater bene fi ts in some years…
  • 4. I want it to work now! Let’s try new things! Since it has always worked, why should we change? Personality Preferences Education If we start using it now, we will see greater bene fi ts in some years…
  • 5. Culture Let’s try new things! Since it has always worked, why should we change? I want it to work now! If we start using it now, we will see greater bene fi ts in some years…
  • 6. “The collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others.” Culture — Geert Hofstede
  • 7. Culture Let’s try new things! Since it has always worked, why should we change? I want it to work now! If we start using it now, we will see greater bene fi ts in some years…
  • 8. Culture Let’s try new things! Since it has always worked, why should we change? I want it to work now! Uncertainty Avoidance How much individuals in a community tend to tolerate and do new and unfamiliar things. If we start using it now, we will see greater bene fi
  • 9. Power Distance Gender Egalitarianism In-Group Collectivism Uncertainty Avoidance Future Orientation Assertiveness
  • 10.
  • 11. Software Development is a Socio-Technical Activity Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
  • 12. Stray and Moe “Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack” Journal of Systems and Software, 2020 Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering Distributed Software Development is a Difficult Socio-Technical Activity
  • 13. Stray and Moe “Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack” Journal of Systems and Software, 2020 Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering Distributed Software Development is a Difficult Socio-Technical Activity Communication and Collaboration Socio-Technical Aspects
  • 14. Stray and Moe “Understanding coordination in global software engineering: A mixed-methods study on the use of meetings and Slack” Journal of Systems and Software, 2020 Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering Distributed Software Development is a Difficult Socio-Technical Activity Cultural Aspects Communication and Collaboration Socio-Technical Aspects
  • 15.
  • 16. Researchers tend to treat culture abstractly, without relying on affirmed frameworks.
  • 17. Researchers tend to treat culture abstractly, without relying on affirmed frameworks. Since no global view is provided, no (grounded) theoretical models are available in the literature.
  • 18. Studying how affect Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities Cultural Differences between developers Study Objective
  • 19. Studying how affect Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities Cultural Differences between developers Study Objective How?
  • 20. Studying how affect Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities Study Objective Cultural Differences between developers How?
  • 21. Studying how affect Cultural Differences between developers Study Objective Socio-Technical Aspects in software communities How?
  • 22. How? Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Data Analysis Collect data using semi-structured interviews with practitioners from the distributed software development context. Analyze data using coding, constant comparison, and memoing methods to let concepts and categories emerge. Repeat to reach saturation. Semi-Structured Interviews Data Gathering Data Analysis STGT for Data Analysis
  • 23. In-group Collectivism Dispersion Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Performance Orientation Dispersion Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Remote Working] [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Remote Working] No Mitigation Strategies Provided Letting individualists being individualists Creating guidelines and organizing training In-group Collectivism (High) Team members became happier [Positive] Productivity increased [Positive] Create discussion groups that improve the development [Positive] Provide idea for improving products [Positive] Organizing internal groups talking about diversities Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion [Extreme/Pair Programming] Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together Reduce Overlooking [Positive] Assertiveness Dispersion Moderating Communication Ending each meeting by clearly repeating the tasks and duties each person has to do Part of the team with In-group Collectivism (High) Clearly communicate what types of risks need to be mitigated in groups and in isolation Training newcomers to handle cultural differences by creating guidelines Monitoring cultural variations Power Distance Dispersion [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Information Hiding [Negative] Creating guidelines and organizing training for enforce cultural awareness and intelligence Information and Risk Hiding [Negative] Risk Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension LEGEND Makes the outnumbered party unhappy [Negative] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Theory of Dealing with Cultural Dispersion
  • 24. 248 Codes — 38 Concepts — 4 Categories — 6 Preliminary Theoretical Models Results How? Power Distance Dispersion Information Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Could cause ... [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Contributes to ... Performance Orientation Dispersion Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... In-group Collectivism (High) Contributes to ... Reduce Overlooking Increase Productivity Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Create discussion groups that improve the development Provide idea for improving products Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Organizing internal groups talking about diversities [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... Creating guidelines and organizing training Mitigates ... Assertiveness Dispersion Could cause ... Part of the team with In-group Collectivism (High) Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Risk Hiding [Negative] Moderating Communication Ending each meeting by clearly repeating the tasks and duties each person has to do Clearly communicate what types of risks need to be mitigated in groups and in isolation Training newcomers to handle cultural differences by creating guidelines Monitoring cultural variations Mitigates ... Mitigates ... Contributes to ... Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend
  • 25. 248 Codes — 38 Concepts — 4 Categories — 6 Preliminary Theoretical Models Results How? Power Distance Dispersion Information Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Could cause ... [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Contributes to ... Performance Orientation Dispersion Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... In-group Collectivism (High) Contributes to ... Reduce Overlooking Increase Productivity Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Create discussion groups that improve the development Provide idea for improving products Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Organizing internal groups talking about diversities [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... Creating guidelines and organizing training Mitigates ... Assertiveness Dispersion Could cause ... Part of the team with In-group Collectivism (High) Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Risk Hiding [Negative] Moderating Communication Ending each meeting by clearly repeating the tasks and duties each person has to do Clearly communicate what types of risks need to be mitigated in groups and in isolation Training newcomers to handle cultural differences by creating guidelines Monitoring cultural variations Mitigates ... Mitigates ... Contributes to ... Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Applicable Extendable
  • 26. Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Co-Starring Dimensions Could cause… Mitigates… Could cause… Six models, one for each concept of the category “Dealing with Cultural Dispersion.” R e s u l t s Theory at Category Level Effects of Cultural Dispersion Contributes to…
  • 27. Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Co-Starring Dimensions Could cause… Mitigates… Could cause… Theory at Category Level Effects of Cultural Dispersion Contributes to… R e s u l t s Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Dealing with Cultural Dispersion It refers to situations in which a difference in the team in terms of cultural behaviors led to some effect (both positive and negative). Each concept in this category expresses the act of dealing with dispersion in terms of a specific Cultural dimension.
  • 28. Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Co-Starring Dimensions Mitigates… Could cause… Theory at Category Level Contributes to… R e s u l t s Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Effects of Cultural Dispersion It describes the effect (positive and negative) deriving from situations in which there was collaboration between a team culturally dispersed. Each concept in this category expresses an effect, and each effect is associated with an attribute that expresses if it is positive or negative for the community members and its management. Could cause… Effects of Cultural Dispersion
  • 29. Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Mitigates… Could cause… Theory at Category Level R e s u l t s Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Co-Starring Dimensions This category operationalizes situations in which the influence of a particular cultural background (other than dispersal) contributes to generating an effect. Could cause… Effects of Cultural Dispersion Co-Starring Dimensions Contributes to…
  • 30. Theory at Category Level R e s u l t s Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Such a category relates to how practitioners deal with cultural dispersion-originated issues in their teams and its consequent effects. Each concept in this category expresses a strategy (related to some effect of dispersion) for mitigating it. Could cause… Effects of Cultural Dispersion Co-Starring Dimensions Contributes to… Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Mitigates… Could cause…
  • 31. Theory at Concepts Level It describes situations in which community members have divergent views on membership and loyalty to their team. In Group Collectivism Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend
  • 32. Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend I am a good manager! Mario Rossi A generic Manager R e s u l t s Value Proposition
  • 33. Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Oh.... I recognize this patterns in my team! Mario Rossi A generic Manager R e s u l t s Value Proposition
  • 34. Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Oh.... But this is exactly my problem… So this is the reason! Mario Rossi A generic Manager R e s u l t s Value Proposition
  • 35. Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Oh... I can solve it like this! Great! Mario Rossi A generic Manager R e s u l t s Value Proposition
  • 36. Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Oh... I can solve it like this! Great! Mario Rossi A generic Manager R e s u l t s Value Proposition Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend
  • 37. T H E E N D Theory of Dealing With Cultural Dispersion Stefano Lambiase @StefanoLambiase slambiase@unisa.it https://stefanolambiase.github.io Power Distance Dispersion Information Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Could cause ... [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Contributes to ... Performance Orientation Dispersion Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... In-group Collectivism (High) Contributes to ... Reduce Overlooking Increase Productivity Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Create discussion groups that improve the development Provide idea for improving products Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Organizing internal groups talking about diversities [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... Creating guidelines and organizing training Mitigates ... Assertiveness Dispersion Could cause ... Part of the team with In-group Collectivism (High) Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Risk Hiding [Negative] Moderating Communication Ending each meeting by clearly repeating the tasks and duties each person has to do Clearly communicate what types of risks need to be mitigated in groups and in isolation Training newcomers to handle cultural differences by creating guidelines Monitoring cultural variations Mitigates ... Mitigates ... Contributes to ... Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend
  • 39. Future Work “The most important step a man can take. It's not the fi rst one, is it? It's the next one. Always the next step.” – Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer
  • 40. Future Work “The most important step a man can take. It's not the fi rst one, is it? It's the next one. Always the next step.” – Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer Our preliminary theory is the result of a preliminary STGT investigation
  • 41. Future Work “The most important step a man can take. It's not the fi rst one, is it? It's the next one. Always the next step.” – Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer Our preliminary theory is the result of a preliminary STGT investigation Conducting ulterior steps of STGT to obtain a complete Grounded Theory Complementing the qualitative fi nding with quantitative studies
  • 42. How? Research Method “Grounded theory is a rigorous research method that enables systematic and evidence-based development of theory. GT is a complete research method that covers data collection, analysis, and more advanced steps of theory development.” Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Data Analysis Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
  • 43. How? Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Data Analysis Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
  • 44. How? Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Data Analysis Rahina Hoda “Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Software Engineering” IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering Bice Della Piana Stefano Lambiase, Gemma Catolino, Filomena Ferrucci, Fabio Palomba Cross-cultural Management Research Cross-cultural Management Research Qualitative Research, Socio-Technical Research, Theory Development
  • 45. How? Research Method Participant Selection 10 Practitioners with experience in Culturally Dispersed Teams Participants 3 Iterations Each Interview of approximately 60 minutes Possessing experience with distributed teams. Having at least ten years of experience in the software industry. Having experience in managing software development teams.
  • 46. How? Research Method Participant Selection Transferability 10 Practitioners with experience in Culturally Dispersed Teams Participants 3 Iterations Each Interview of approximately 60 minutes
  • 47. How? Semi-Structured Interviews Data Gathering Data Analysis STGT for Data Analysis Research Method Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Data Analysis Analysis Strategy Open Coding, Constant Comparison, and Memoing P1. I have an individual who strongly favors working alone, to the extent that collaborating with others has become problematic. This situation arose because there was a segment of the team that preferred teamwork, and it consistently resulted in conflicts when this person had to work alongside others. P9. We had a collaborative team, but some preferred working alone, causing problems. One person got fired for not participating in team activities, which were a part of our company's Extreme Programming practices, including pair programming and daily meetings. Even in remote work, the company encouraged active engagement with cameras on. This individual often didn't participate in pair programming, wasn't an active listener, and create problems. Quotations Key Points Codes Concepts P3. Unfortunately, the situation has been frustrating. We had a project with developers on the X side and Y testers. The head of testing, a woman, faced challenges due to the X workplace culture's limited acceptance of women. This created issues, as we had talented female team members who were not treated equally. There is a team member who strongly prefers working alone, leading to conflicts with the teamwork- oriented segment of the team. Team faced problems due to one member's reluctance to participate in collaborative activities, leading to its firing. The head of testing, a woman, encountered challenges in an environment that did not readily accept women in prominent roles. - Conflict - In Group Collectivism - Dispersion - Challenging - Problems - In Group Collectivism - Dispersion - Firing - Not accepted - Gender Egalitarism - Dispersion - Challenging Dealing with In Group Collectivism Dispersion is challenging Such a situation rises conflicts Dealing with Gender Egalitarism Dispersion is challenging Such a situation leads to team member firing Dealing With Cultural Dispersion Negative Effects Categories
  • 48. How? Semi-Structured Interviews Data Gathering Data Analysis STGT for Data Analysis Research Method 10 Practitioners with experience in Culturally Dispersed Teams Participants Analysis Strategy Open Coding, Constant Comparison, and Memoing Socio-Technical Grounded Theory for Data Analysis ICSE 2024 — Artifact Evaluation
  • 49. Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Category It refers to situations in which a difference in the team in terms of cultural behaviors led to some effect (both positive and negative). Each concept in this category expresses the act of dealing with dispersion in terms of a specific Cultural dimension. • Dealing with Power Distance Index Dispersion • Dealing with In-Group Collectivism Dispersion • Dealing with Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion • Dealing with Performance Orientation Dispersion • Dealing with Assertiveness Dispersion • Dealing with Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Concepts R e s u l t s
  • 50. Effects of Cultural Dispersion Category It describes the effect (positive and negative) deriving from situations in which there was collaboration between a team culturally dispersed. Each concept in this category expresses an effect, and each effect is associated with an attribute that expresses if it is positive or negative for the community members and its management. R e s u l t s Positive Effects Negative Effects
  • 51. Strategies for Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Category Such a category relates to how practitioners deal with cultural dispersion-originated issues in their teams and its consequent effects. Each concept in this category expresses a strategy (related to some effect of dispersion) for mitigating it. R e s u l t s • Clearly communicate the types of risks that require mitigation both within groups and in isolation. • Monitoring cultural variations • Creating guidelines to train newcomers in handling cultural differences. • … Concepts
  • 52. Co-Starring Dimensions Category This category operationalizes situations in which the influence of a particular cultural background (other than dispersal) contributes to generating an effect. R e s u l t s [Information] [Cultural Dimension] (high/medium/low) Concepts
  • 53. Performance orientation (PO): it refers to the extent to which a society encourages and rewards its members for performance improvement and excellence; in direct relationship with entrepreneurship, it refers to the degree to which innovation is rewarded. Future orientation (FO): it is associated to the degree to which individuals in societies engage in future-oriented behaviors such as planning and investing in the future. While future-oriented societies value perseverance and patience, societies that are low in this cultural dimension are more focused on short-term results. Power distance (PD): it refers to the degree to which members of a society expect and accept unequal distribution of power. In high power distance societies, an unequal distribution of power is accepted. On the other hand, in low power distance societies, egalitarianism is emphasized. Uncertainty Avoidance (UA): it refers to the extent to which members of a society attempt to avoid uncertainty by relying on established social norms and practices. Cultures with high scores of uncertainty avoidance seek to reduce risk and ambiguity. Humane Orientation (HO): it is the degree to which individuals in societies encourage and reward individuals for being fair, altruistic, friendly, generous, caring, and kind. In-group Collectivism (GC): it is the degree to which individuals express cohesiveness in their families or close groups. Institutional collectivism (IC): it reflects the degree to which societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action. Gender egalitarianism (GE): it refers to the extent to which a society promotes gender equality and minimizes differences. Assertiveness (A): it is the degree to which individuals in societies are confrontational and tough in social relationships. In societies with high assertiveness cultural scores, harmony is less emphasized than expressing ones' opinions directly and frankly.
  • 54. How do cultural differences in software development teams influence the development lifecycle? Our findings suggest that the impact is nuanced, with both positive and negative effects, contingent on the level of managerial effort invested in managing these differences effectively. Our theoretical framework associates each effect to a specific context, allowing practitioners and researchers to identify the origin of the problem/benefit precisely. R e s u l t s Power Distance Dispersion Information Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Could cause ... [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Contributes to ... Performance Orientation Dispersion Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... In-group Collectivism (High) Contributes to ... Reduce Overlooking Increase Productivity Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Create discussion groups that improve the development Provide idea for improving products Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Organizing internal groups talking about diversities [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... Creating guidelines and organizing training Mitigates ... Assertiveness Dispersion Could cause ... Part of the team with In-group Collectivism (High) Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Risk Hiding [Negative] Moderating Communication Ending each meeting by clearly repeating the tasks and duties each person has to do Clearly communicate what types of risks need to be mitigated in groups and in isolation Training newcomers to handle cultural differences by creating guidelines Monitoring cultural variations Mitigates ... Mitigates ... Contributes to ... Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend
  • 55. Implications for Researchers Broaden the framework by conducting further research using different cultural frameworks delve deeper into the existing categories within the framework by studying alternative strategies for mitigating the negative effects quantitatively investigate the impact of cultural dispersion on software development
  • 56. Theory at Concepts Level It describes situations in which community members have divergent views on membership and loyalty to their team. In Group Collectivism Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Productivity increased Team members became happier In-group Collectivism Dispersion Letting individualists being individualists [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Rise Conflict [Negative] Makes it difficult to evaluate team member work and productivity [Negative] Could cause ... [Remote Working] Makes people who want to collaborate in individualism-oriented settings do not feel comfortable [Negative] It makes collaborative people isolate themselves and discourage [Negative] Mitigates ... Could cause ... No Mitigation Strategies Provided Dealing with Cultural Dispersion Negative Effect Positive Effect Strategy Context Co-starring Dimension Legend In-Group Collectivism
  • 57. Theory at Concepts Level Assertiveness Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Assertiveness Dispersion Could cause ... Part of the team with In-group Collectivism (High) Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Risk Hiding [Negative] Moderating Communication Ending each meeting by clearly repeating the tasks and duties each person has to do Clearly communicate what types of risks need to be mitigated in groups and in isolation Training newcomers to handle cultural differences by creating guidelines Monitoring cultural variations Mitigates ... Mitigates ... Contributes to ... Assertiveness
  • 58. Theory at Concepts Level Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Reduce Overlooking Increase Productivity Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Uncertainty Avoidance
  • 59. Theory at Concepts Level Power Distance Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Power Distance Dispersion Information Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Could cause ... [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Contributes to ... Reduce Overlooking Increase Productivity Uncertainty Avoidance Dispersion Getting people who express opposite behaviors to work together [Extreme/Pair Programming] [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Power Distance
  • 60. Theory at Concepts Level Performance Orientation Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Power Distance Dispersion Information Hiding [Negative] Lose Trust [Negative] Could cause ... [Leader Assertiveness (High)] Contributes to ... Performance Orientation Dispersion Misunderstanding during communication [Negative] Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... In-group Collectivism (High) Contributes to ... Performance Orientation
  • 61. Theory at Concepts Level Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Theory R e s u l t s Create discussion groups that improve the development Provide idea for improving products Gender Egalitarianism Dispersion Organizing internal groups talking about diversities [Positive] [Positive] Contributes to ... Could cause ... Rise Conflict [Negative] Could cause ... Creating guidelines and organizing training Mitigates ... Gender Egalitarianism