Debugging the system: The impact of dispersion on the identity of software team members

Abigail Marks, Cliff Lockyer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper looks at the impact of dispersion of groups of software workers on team and organizational identification. The paper examines at two case studies of software organizations operating in Scotland. One case study is drawn from a software division of a large national telecommunications company, the other from a medium-sized indigenous software firm. Within each organization we examined groups of employees based within and outwith their employing organizations. Our results were broadly consistent with established work within other sectors in finding that the team largely replaced the organization as a focus for identification. However, we also found that there was no difference in the salience of organizational identification between dispersed employees and those based within their employing organization. For many employees the focus on the team as opposed to the organization was a way of reducing subjective uncertainty within a changing corporate environment. Finally, we established that it is team identification rather than organizational identification for software workers that is a greater determinant of affective outcomes such as job satisfaction. The results of this study impact upon contemporary theories of HRM, which promote the design of work systems in order to engender commitment to, and identification with, the organization. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-237
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


    • Dispersion
    • Identification
    • Knowledge-intensive work
    • Software work
    • Teams


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