Investigating the Motivating Potential of Software Development Methods: Insights from a Work Design Perspective

Adarsh Kumar Kakar


In this study we view Software Development Methods (SDMs) through the perspective of work design. The objective is to gain understanding into the inherent potential of the two major paradigms of software development, the Plan-driven and Agile methods, to motivate team members of software development projects. The work design perspective is relevant for investigating the motivating impacts of SDMs. The increasing popularity of people focused Agile methods over process focused Plan-driven methods in the 2000s mirror the increasing popularity of non-Taylorist work designs over Taylorist work designs in the 1980s. Work design concepts in parallel disciplines such as manufacturing evolved from the Taylorist focus on specialization and time and motion studies to adopting autonomous self-managed teams and creating employee programs like quality circles. Gleaning concepts from the widely accepted Job Characteristic Model (Hackman and Qldham, 1976) for work design, and the SelfDetermination Theory (Deci and Ryan, 1985), one of the most prominent theories of motivation, provided useful insights. Together they could explain and predict the differential impacts of plandriven and Agile methods of software development on team member motivation.


Job Characteristic Model; Self-Determination Theory; Software Engineer Motivation; Software Engineer Job Satisfaction

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Kakar, A. K. (2017). " Investigating the Motivating Potential of Methods of Software Development: Insights from a Work Design Perspective," Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 9(4), pp. 65-96.