Tacit Knowledge in a Software Development Project

Dreyer, Hanna (2018) Tacit Knowledge in a Software Development Project. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

Knowledge, and tacit knowledge in particular, is a key component of a successful software development project. Although the importance of tacit knowledge has been widely acknowledged by researchers, few have undertaken an in-depth exploratory investigation of its use within the software development process. Its intangible nature makes it difficult to conceptualize and is therefore challenging to investigate. This study explores tacit and explicit knowledge in software development project meetings, focusing on their acquisition and sharing within the team as well as on an individual basis. The interplay between individual and group tacit knowledge is particularly interesting when observing a project team over time. By analysing knowledge sources, a knowledge development process emerges, which sheds light upon the growth and exchange of tacit knowledge within the team. The investigation is of a UK based HR software development project observed through participant observation over a three-month period, involving the software development organization, a human resource consultancy and an organization focusing on archaeology. The three companies worked together to complete a tailored software package for the organization, complementing each other in their expertise within each of their fields. The centre for knowledge exchange within the project was the weekly meetings conducted through face-to-face conversations and conference calls, exposing tacit knowledge at its point of creation. The research concludes with a model representing the process of tacit knowledge development and exchange within a software development project from both an individual and team based view. The existence of a common dynamic environment with qualified individuals exchanging tacit knowledge and making decisions demonstrates the importance of face-to-face conversations. The model helps develop an understanding of the points of tacit knowledge acquisition, sharing and creation, as well as their usage by everyone. The findings are used to make recommendations concerning the management of knowledge exchange within software development project teams as well as highlighting possible areas for future research in this field.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Bown, Robinrbown@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Wynn, Martinmwynn@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human resources software; Software development project; Tacit knowledge
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business and Technology > Business & Enterprise Management
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2019 15:23
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2019 17:14
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/6441

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