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Social Psychology and Software Teams: Establishing Task-Effective Group Norms

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4 Author(s)
Teh, Alvin ; Australian National University ; Baniassad, E. ; van Rooy, Dirk ; Boughton, Clive

It's a common belief that groups that possess appropriate expertise and work well together will be more likely to successfully complete a project. However, social psychological research shows that getting the right mix of people doesn't guarantee a successful outcome. Group success also relies on group norms, which are derived as much from the group's context as from the people in it. A small, preliminary study illustrates how norm manipulation affected how well groups performed requirements elicitation. Results show that groups performed better on this task when norms emphasized creativity rather than agreeability. Norm manipulation might be a practical way to enhance group performance in software engineering tasks. There is an erratum in this article: in Figure 1, the description in the “Constructive norm condition” box should have read “Priming: list what they had learned in their requirements-analysis course.” The description in the “Critical norm condition” box should have read “Priming: debate and reach consensus on the statement‘Requirements specifications should always reflect design constraints.’”

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 4 )