Social interactions of information systems development teams: A performance perspective

Steve Sawyer, Patricia J. Guinan, Jay Cooprider

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


We report results from a longitudinal study of information systems development (ISD) teams. We use data drawn from 60 ISD teams at 22 sites of 15 Fortune 500 organizations to explore variations in performance relative to these teams social interactions. To do this, we characterize ISD as a form of new product development and focus on team-level social interactions with external stakeholders. Drawing on cluster analysis, we identify five patterns of team-level social interactions and the relationships of these patterns to a suite of objective and subjective measures of ISD performance. Analysis leads us to report three findings. First, data indicate that no one of the five identified patterns maximizes all performance measures. Second, data make clear that the most common approach to ISD is the least effective relative to our suite of performance measures. Third, data from this study show that early indications of ISD project success do not predict actual outcomes. These findings suggest two issues for research and practice. First, these findings indicate that varying patterns of social interactions lead to differences in ISD team performance. Second, the findings illustrate that singular measures of ISD performance are an oversimplification and that multiple measures of ISD performance are unlikely to agree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-107
Number of pages27
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Boundaryspanning
  • Cluster analysis
  • Information systems development
  • Performance
  • Social informatics
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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