Final Thesis: An Experiment on the Effects of Native Language Communication on Work Result Quality

Abstract: The motivation of this work was the research on distributed global software engineering and its challenges concerning linguistic barriers of international software engineering teams by Prof. Dr. Riehle at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. It led to the research question, stating whether the communication in a common native-language within one team in software engineering projects does have a positive effect on the work result quality or not, which could help to improve the team compositions in global software engineering projects. This work reflects the importance of this research question in the context of global software engineering as well as the general effects of communication on software engineering work results on the basis of existing scientific publications.

Derived from reliable literature, linguistic barriers could, for example, lead to cultural divergences, misunderstandings with consequences and a shift of hierarchies inside a software engineering team. In addition, linguistic barriers could have an influence on the level of trust among a team, which might have direct effects on the results of the work. In order to determine these findings, this empirical research does examine the hypotheses of how communication in a native language affects the software and requirement quality of different SCRUM projects. It also investigates the level of trust as well as the personal satisfaction of each team member of these projects. The SCRUM projects were conducted as a quasi-experiment on different native and non-native speaking team compositions of national and international students.

The results of this quasi-experiment mean that the communication in a native language within a software development team correlates positively with the results of work quality as well as with the level of trust among the team members. A positive effect on the personal satisfaction could not be detected. Due to its experimental design, these results only have internal validity. Hence, this experiment can be seen as an exploratory research which should provide a base for future research.

Keywords:  software engineering, SCRUM, language, language barriers, native language

PDFs: Master Thesis, Work Description

Reference: Simon Kramer. An Experiment on the Effects of Native Language Communication on Work Result Quality. Master Thesis, Friedrich Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.