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Lecture: Organizational Psychology and Software Teams

Measurable Connections between Psychological Constructs and the Perception of Team Members

We work and research in the field of work and organizational psychology in tech teams and companies. In this talk we will give insights into: How can software development teams be supported by organizational psychology? How can the collaboration in teams be changed measurably? Which factors have a measurable influence on the work of software development teams?

Over the past decades, the interest in research and practical recommendations on innovation climate at team and organizational level has grown. Furthermore, the positive effects of flow experience have become increasingly present at work. The influence of leadership is commonly agreed, but little research has contributed to identifying the suitable leadership style for this target group supporting the presence of psychological safety and a climate for initiative. For the target group of members of product software development teams in Germany two studies were conducted in 2020.

Study 1 focused on the team climate for innovation and the experience of flow and worry (N = 323). This study identified a significantly positive relation between the perceived team climate for innovations and the individual flow experience, whereas there is no significant relation between the perceived team climate for innovations and the individual experience of worry. Gender has no moderating effect. Regarding the four dimensions of the team climate for innovations, the expression of vision is relatively low for the target group of product software development teams in Germany compared to the norm tables. Participative safety is comparably high and task orientation and support for innovations are moderately distinctive. This means, all dimensions, except participative safety, need interventions in order to strengthen the team climate for innovations itself and thereby foster the flow experience. Since the extent of experiencing both flow and worry is relatively high, software product development itself and respectively the work environments seem to be stimulating, but also concerning for team members, which is why these aspects need action. Study 2 (N = 121) focuses on leadership styles and the relation to psychological safety and the climate for initiative.

This talk will give a short insight into the used psychological constructs, followed by showing some research results and giving explanations on how to make use of the findings for working in software development teams.