Integrating knowledge in outsourced software development

Featured Faculty:

Anandhi Bharadwaj
Vice Dean for Faculty and Research; Goizueta Endowed Chair in Electronic Commerce and Professor of Information Systems & Operations Management

Despite the prevalence of using outside vendors to handle a company’s software development, little is known about the best way to effectively share the knowledge critical to a project’s success among the client and vendor software team members. In research from Anandhi Bharadwaj, professor of information systems & operations management (ISOM) and Goizueta Term Chair in ISOM, and coauthor Nikhil Mehta (U of Northern Iowa), the duo determined that knowledge integration on outsourced projects is further complicated by the uncertainty often inherent in software development. Bharadwaj and Mehta analyzed 139 vendor development teams taken from sixteen Indian software companies for their research. The authors found that the manner in which software teams share and protect the information resources they have impacts the knowledge integration ability of the team. Since software teams operate under conditions of resource scarcity and dependence, team leaders need to ensure that their software development teams have not only the requisite technical skills but also the ability to import needed skills and knowledge from external sources and share it effectively within the team. An important implication of Bharadwaj and Mehta’s research is that organizations should develop holistic performance appraisal policies that assess software developers for both intergroup and within-group activities.