Who Are the Rational Actors in Software Development Projects?
Gaebert C., Friedrich J.
In the field of software development outsourcing and software project management, researchers use concepts from economic theory to describe organizations, groups, teams, and involved people as rational actors. However, they fail to justify these approaches based on an appropriate understanding of the involved social actors’ status. The question, who really can be described as a rational actor, the organizations, teams, or the individual people, and which kind of rationality they provide, remains open. We have therefore analyzed the social structure of software development projects (SDP) as described in research literature. Based on novel concepts from the field of social philosophy, we have developed a social ontology (SO) of the actors in the context of commercial SDPs. We identified different actors at several levels, with different kinds of rationality. Organizations, departments, and groups may act as rational actors if following well-defined regulations and methods. Actor classification according to the rationality of the actors’ decision-making will help understand and predict their behavior and thus provide a solid base for the application of economic concepts to software development outsourcing and software project management research.
Group Agents; Collective Actions; Rationality; Software Development Project; Software Development Outsourcing; Software Project Management; Rational Actors