The Impact of Conflict Judgments between Developers and Testers in Software Development

The Impact of Conflict Judgments between Developers and Testers in Software Development

Xihui Zhang (Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, College of Business, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL, USA), Jasbir S. Dhaliwal (Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA), Mark L. Gillenson (Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA) and Thomas F. Stafford (Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/JDM.2013100102
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Abstract

The primary role of testers is to verify and validate the software produced by developers to ensure its quality. Testing is designed to catch problems in the software and report them for correction, so it is a conflict-laden, confrontational, and judgmental process. This “audit” role of testing is inherently adversarial, ensuring the development of components of interpersonal conflict judgments between developers and testers. Prior research indicates that such conflict is likely to be negatively associated with software quality and job satisfaction, producing negative judgments about the artifact production process and about the job itself. This study addresses the question: How do judgments of conflict between developers and testers impact the software development process? The authors develop and empirically test a research model which proposes that the conflict judgment targets of both the tasks and the persons who perform them will have direct impact on both software quality and job satisfaction judgments. Results of testing this model indicate that interpersonal judgments arising from conflict, as well as judgments made by testers and developers about the conflict targets of tasks and persons negatively influence subsequent software quality and job satisfaction judgments. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
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Prior Research

There are four aspects of the software testing literature to be considered in building a theoretical platform for the assessment of conflict between developers and testers: (1) aspects of the judgmental differences between developers and testers, (2) the evolution of software development methodologies and the subsequently changing role of software testing, (3) mixed findings of past empirical studies, and (4) issues related to the operationalization of conflict. We review each of these aspects of the research briefly as follows.

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