Transnationally Distributed Software-Engineering: Do Technological Standardization and Professional Homogenization Make Cultural Barriers Disappear?

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ingo SCHULZ-SCHAEFFER, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Matthias BOTTEL, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Abstract for the panel “The Regulation of Cross-Border Labor Mobility”, RC02 Economy and Society, 3rd ISA Forum, Wien 2016

We focus on an issue which provides in two respects a useful complement to the main focus of the panel: In our case, labor mobility is mobility not of workers but of work tasks. That is, we are studying the effects of the relocation of work by offshoring software development tasks from Germany to East European Countries. Secondly, the kind of regulation, we are interested in, is not primarily regulation by laws, treaties, or agreements but regulation by technological standards and professional homogenization. The focus of our research is on the cooperation between software engineers in transnational teams of distributed software engineering. One of the most astonishing results of our empirical studies is that we do not find much frictions of conflicts in the task related cooperation which are due to cultural differences or language barriers. We assume that is on the one hand due to the fact that German as well as East European software engineers are not only familiar with the same software development tools but also share a quite similar professional culture. Our talk will provide evidence supporting this hypothesis. We believe this to be an interesting finding since technological standardization and common professional standards to some degree may substitute formal regulations in transnational work.