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Higgins Allen

Collective Aspects of Software Design Processes: The Sociology of Collaborative Design.


The paper presents a longitudinal case study which analyses interactions constituting software production. We present a rich description of the content and conduct of software code work by focusing on aspects of its collective performance. Our objective was to better appreciate the character of both methodological and emergent aspects of this form of knowledge work and its relationship to management and production processes. Labour Process Theory provides a starting point (grounding assumptions) for a research design attuned to aspects of software labour processes and to analyse the micro-detail of software production. The research reveals the software labour process in this case to be multifaceted, complex and (at times) contradictory. We reflect upon the possibilities for a comprehensive theoretical analysis of this form of knowledge work.

The Dermot Moran and Lucas Introna Keynote Lecture
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