Factors Affecting Software Developers' Performance: An Integrated Approach

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Software developers’ performance has a direct impact on software development productivity. An understanding of the factors that affect this performance could help determine where to concentrate management efforts (and related financial resources) form a practical standpoint, and where to focus research efforts form an academic perspective. To gain further insight into these factors, this study extends prior research by integrating elements from expectancy theory, goal-setting theory, and organizational behavior specific to the software development process. The research results provide new insights regarding the relative importance of how expectancy theory, goal-setting theory, and individual characteristics affect the perceived performance of software development professionals. These preliminary findings indicate that goal-setting theory may have complex implications for software development performance. Goal difficulty has a negative relationship to performance but a positive relationship to effort. Because of this off-setting effect, the degree of goal difficulty has a relatively small overall effect on performance. Goal clarity also has a relatively small effect on performance. Individual ability has the strongest direct effect on perceived performance, more than twice as strong as the effects o work effort, personality dimensions, and perceived characteristics of the task. High achievement needs were directly related to both effort and perceived performance, whereas self-esteem and locus of control have a direct relationship to perceived performance.

Additional Details

Author Ronald H. Rasch and Henry L. Tosi
Year 1992
Volume 16
Issue 3
Keywords Management, productivity, software development performance, expectancy theory, goal-setting theory
Page Numbers 395-413