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Organizational Punishment/Penalty is a pervasive phenomenon in many professional organizations. In some software development organizations, punishment measures have been adopted in an attempt to improve software developers' performance, reduce the software defects, and hence ensure software quality. It is unclear whether these measures are effective. This article presents the results of a multi-method field study that analyzes software engineers' perception towards penalty policies in relation to software quality in a software development process. The results were generated via both qualitative and quantitative methods. Through interviews, we collected the individuals' perception towards the penalty policy. By extracting data in a software configuration management system, we identified several patterns of defects change. We found that while a penalty mechanism does help to reduce software defects in daily coding activity, it fails in achieving programmers' maximum work potential. Meanwhile, experienced software programmers require less time to adapt to penalty policies and benefit from exist of less experienced developers. Some additional findings and implications are also discussed.
Software Engineering, 2010 ACM/IEEE 32nd International Conference on (Volume:2 )
Date of Conference: 2-8 May 2010