This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge Integration in Software Teams: An Analysis of Team, Project, and IT-Related Issues




Mehta, Nikhil

Type of Degree





Contemporary organizations are increasingly depending on team-based structures to strategically consolidate their dispersed knowledge resources. Team members possess diverse knowledge resources, and these have to be combined with knowledge from external sources to achieve project goals. Teams achieve this objective by integrating knowledge from external sources and blending it with the skills, know-how, and expertise of the team members. Software teams are an appropriate example of the importance of team-level knowledge integration. Multiple project stakeholders, within and outside the team, possess diverse portfolios of requisite know-how, skills, and abilities and teams must integrate them to develop a timely and workable solution. Prior research suggests that software teams carry out two types of knowledge integration - external integration and internal integration. The aim of this study is to examine the influence of various team, project, and IT-related antecedents on these two categories of knowledge integration in software teams. Team-related issues include teams’ knowledge heterogeneity, relational capital, and boundary-buffering processes. Project-related issues include project uncertainty and project interdependence. IT-usage is examined in a moderating capacity. A research model connecting various categories of antecedents to the two types of knowledge integration was tested by collecting data on 300 projects in nine mid- to large-sized CMM Level 5 software firms. The respondents provided information in light of the most successful project and the least successful project they had experienced. PLS latent variable modeling was used to analyze the data. Two separate analyses were conducted: First, the combined sample of 300 projects was examined to test the research hypotheses; and second, separate analyses were conducted on 150 most successful projects and the same number of least successful ones. The findings of this study support the influence of a number of team-, project-, and IT-related issues on external as well as internal knowledge integration in software teams. Among team-related issues, knowledge heterogeneity, relational capital, and sentry processes significantly improved knowledge integration, while guard processes had a negative impact on external knowledge integration. Among project-related antecedents, project uncertainty had a significantly negative influence on both internal as well as external knowledge integration, while project interdependence significantly improved external knowledge integration. Interestingly, IT-usage did not moderate the influence of either team- or project-related issues on internal knowledge integration, but significantly improved the influence of these issues on external knowledge integration. These results provide scholars with a foundation for future research in developing a robust knowledge integration framework. Interesting implications are also in offering for practitioners.