A socio-cognitive interpretation of the potential effects of downsizing on software quality performance

Paul J. Ambrose, Ananth Chiravuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Organizational downsizing research indicates that downsizing does not always realize its strategic intent and may, in fact, have a detrimental impact on organizational performance. In this paper, we extend the notion that downsizing negatively impacts performance and argue that organizational downsizing can potentially be detrimental to software quality performance. Using social cognitive theory (SCT), we primarily interpret the negative impacts of downsizing on software quality performance by arguing that downsizing results in a realignment of social networks (environmental factors), thereby affecting the self-efficacy and outcome expectations of a software professional (personal factors), which, in turn, affect software quality performance (outcome of behaviour undertaken). We synthesize relevant literature from the software quality, SCT and downsizing research streams and develop a conceptual model. Two major impacts of downsizing are hypothesized in the conceptual model. First, downsizing destroys formal and informal social networks in organizations, which, in turn, negatively impacts software developers' self-efficacy and outcome expectations through their antecedents, with consequent negative impacts on software development process efficiency and software product quality, the two major components of software quality performance. Second, downsizing negatively affects antecedents of software development process efficiency, namely top management leadership, management infrastructure sophistication, process management efficacy and stakeholder participation with consequent negative impacts on software quality performance. This theoretically grounded discourse can help demonstrate how organizational downsizing can potentially impact software quality performance through key intervening constructs. We also discuss how downsizing and other intervening constructs can be managed to mitigate the negative impacts of downsizing on software quality performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-265
Number of pages27
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Downsizing
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Software quality
  • Theory development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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