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Applying theory of reasoned action in the context of software development practices: insights into team intention and behavior


Many theories in health care and business administration seek answers to the fundamental question of why people behave the way they do. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) is a theory that focuses on a person's intention to behave a certain way. An intention is a plan or a likelihood that someone will behave in a particular way in specific situations and driven by what is believed -- whether or not they actually do so. Belief is a state of mind that embodies trust and confidence in something. In this context, actions are driven by what is believed, by what is assumed to be true about the world. Objective: Our aim is to study and characterize a belief system by applying TRA to agile software project teams in terms of origins, sources and impacts of beliefs on self-management development practices. Method: An ethnographic case study was conducted. A set of interviews and observations on origins and impacts of beliefs in self-management practices was conducted over years with professionals from different project teams. Results: The results showed the strong influence of past experiences and organizational contexts on self-management practices of agile teams and pointed out some key issues. Thus, this study contribute to an improved understanding on how to apply behavioral theories to study software practices. Conclusion: This study showed that ethnographic methods are quite useful to understand software practice. The study also demonstrated that it is possible to capture and represent a belief system in a software project context


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Carol Passos
  • Daniela Soares Cruzes
  • Manoel Mendonca


  • Brazil
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security




Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)


EASE '13 17th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering : Porto de Galinhas, Brazil — April 14 - 16, 2013




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