Good Fences Make Good Neighbours? On the Impact of Cultural and Geographical Dispersion on Community Smells

Stefano Lambiase, Gemma Catolino, Damien Andrew Tamburri, Alexander Serebrenik, Fabio Palomba, Filomena Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Software development is de facto a social activity that often involves people from all places to join forces globally. In such common instances, project managers must face social challenges, e.g., personality conflicts and language barriers, which often amount literally to “culture shock”. In this paper, we seek to analyze and illustrate how cultural and geographical dispersion—that is, how much a community is diverse in terms of its members’ cultural attitudes and geographical collocation—influence the emergence of collaboration and communication problems in open-source communities, a.k.a. community smells, the socio-technical precursors of unforeseen, often nasty organizational conditions amounting collectively to the phenomenon called social debt. We perform an extensive empirical study on cultural characteristics of GitHub developers, and build a regression model relating the two types of dispersion—cultural and geographical—with the emergence of four types of community smells, i.e., Organizational Silo, Lone Wolf, Radio Silence, and Black Cloud. Results indicate that cultural and geographical factors influence collaboration and communication within open-source communities, to an extent which incites—or even more interestingly mitigates, in some cases—community smells, e.g., Lone Wolf, in development teams. Managers can use these findings to address their own organizational structure and tentatively diagnose any nasty phenomena related to the conditions under study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages67-78
Number of pages12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022
Event44th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering - Software Engineering in Society - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: 10 May 202227 May 2022
Conference number: 44

Conference

Conference44th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering - Software Engineering in Society
Abbreviated titleICSE
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPittsburgh
Period10/05/2227/05/22

Keywords

  • Community Smells
  • Cultural Dispersion
  • Empirical Studies
  • Global Software Engineering
  • Software Organizational Structures

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