In Strangers We Trust? Findings of an Empirical Study of Distributed Teams


Trust has long been a contentious issue in human endeavours. It is not readily given nor gained, more so when strangers are involved. It often becomes an issue during distributed development where individuals are expected to interact with strangers they may not “meet” during the project lifetime. Trust was spontaneously raised by respondents in an empirical study of practices within distributed development and is reported in this paper. A qualitative analysis of study data suggests that trust typically becomes an issue in large teams when developers are to deliver an innovative product. We also found that it is more likely to be an issue the greater the diversity (of culture, language, time zone…etc.) within the team. Finally the data also suggests that developers more readily trust an authoritative team member (e.g. team leader), even if remote. Data suggests these factors can act as positive and negative forces to influence trust within distributed teams. These forces are reported in this paper together with proposed approaches that can promote equilibrium of the net forces.

DOI: 10.1109/ICGSE.2009.20

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@article{AlAni2009InSW, title={In Strangers We Trust? Findings of an Empirical Study of Distributed Teams}, author={Ban Al-Ani and David F. Redmiles}, journal={2009 Fourth IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering}, year={2009}, pages={121-130} }