Videndeling og videnudvikling blandt softwareudviklere

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Peter Farsinsen
This thesis deals with how knowledge is shared and developed throughout informal groups of software developers. The existence of these groups is evident on the internet which poses both possibilities and challenges on organizations that employ software developers. Knowledge gained through these channels is tending to have an impact on how the individual developer carry out and perceive the job at hand, and why should it not do just that? It might enrich the organization, but it might as well result in unknown or unwanted practices. Should organizations try to embrace this phenomenon and is it possible to facilitate, that the same kind of informal groups are formed within the organization? These are some of the questions I discuss throughout this thesis. The thesis takes its departure in a recent discussion between usability expert Donald Norman and the co-founders of 37Signals and internet entrepreneurs, David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. This discussion serves as an example of how knowledge is shared and developed on the internet. As an addition to this it also shows off some of the constraints and the challenges this type of collaboration poses on the individual developer. Sharing and developing knowledge with a group of people is not only a matter of giving and taking. In large parts it is also a matter of negotiation of what the topic of the discussion is and accepting that others might not share your perspective on that topic. As an attempt to understand why and how these informal groups form, I discuss how the internet can be understood as a model for knowledge sharing and development. The internet has in recent years undergone a lot of changes which has led to the to the term Web 2.0 being coined. It has transformed from being a catalog of static text pages into collections of text snippets which, as a result of new standards and new ways of applying technology, can flow and intertwine across contexts. When these text snippets flow between contexts, that focus on certain subjects or practices, they are often seen as topics for discussion or contributions to ongoing discussions. I suggest that these text snippets can be seen as boundary objects between communities of practices. Furthermore it is discussed how theories on online learning environment can help us understand how knowledge is accumulated in and shared between online communities and organizations. Additionally I discuss how this phenomenon can affect organizations and how organizations might facilitate that communities with similar features emerge within the physical settings of an organization. In this discussion I suggest that organizations are to be seen as part of a larger network and thus our way of thinking about them should not be bounded by their physical setting. Not only are they, in a technological sense, connected to the internet, but they are in fact also part of a network consisting of costumers, partners, competitors and the like. This view on the network, in which organizations take part, can be compared to a living organism. To survive these parts have to communicate, share knowledge and have a common goal. I suggest that thinking about organizations as a metaphor for a brain, can help us gain insights on how to design organizations that has these organic features. Finally I discuss whether it is feasible and desirable to try to design organizations that have these organic features in an attempt to facilitate sharing and development of knowledge within communities in and across the borders of an organization. In this final part of the thesis I draw some attention to other tendencies within this field, that share some similarities with the perspectives presented in this thesis.
Publication date2008
Number of pages42
Publishing institutionHumantisk Fakultet
ID: 14633872