‘Mood, personality play important role in company IT system’

By: | Published: July 27, 2016 4:52 PM

Human mood and personality play an important role in how companies should manage their IT systems, say researchers including one of Indian-origin who found that organisations focus too much on the technical and mechanical aspects of IT errors.

"A minor glitch in design or programming can have devastating consequences. For example, even a small error in software design could result in a NASA capsule disaster in outer space," said Sarkar.(Reuters)“A minor glitch in design or programming can have devastating consequences. For example, even a small error in software design could result in a NASA capsule disaster in outer space,” said Sarkar.(Reuters)

Human mood and personality play an important role in how companies should manage their IT systems, say researchers including one of Indian-origin who found that organisations focus too much on the technical and mechanical aspects of IT errors.

“Our study suggests the mood and personality traits of the software development team affect how they report on self-committed errors in IT projects,” said Sumantra Sarkar from Binghamton University in the US.

“A minor glitch in design or programming can have devastating consequences. For example, even a small error in software design could result in a NASA capsule disaster in outer space,” said Sarkar.

Researchers found that organisations focus too much on the technical and mechanical aspects of IT errors, rather than the human and environmental aspects of the errors.

They examined how human elements influence IT errors and decision-making. Researchers also established a theoretical framework intended to explain some of the decision-making processes associated with reporting self-committed errors.

Since the study suggested that IT errors are caused by a combination of factors, researchers said that it is important to adopt various procedures to identify inefficiencies, ineffective care and preventable errors to make improvements associated with the IT systems.

And, it is important to look at individuals working on information technology teams, they said.

“We found a difference in the self-committed IT error reporting process of developers depending on if they were in a positive or negative mood,” said Sarkar.

“”When IT workers were in a positive mood, they were less likely to report on self-committed errors. This can be explained by how being in a positively elevated state can impede one’s cognitive processing,” he said.

The study has managerial implications, too. According to Sarkar, practitioners often perceive software development as dependent on machines, as opposed to humans, which is not a sustainable mindset.

“Managers should establish a good rapport with team members to foster an environment that will allow employees to speak up when they feel their mood could affect their reporting decisions,” he said.

Researchers say that IT managers should emphasise to their employees the benefits of reporting self-committed errors because, ultimately, IT errors that go unreported could hurt the company more in the long run.

According to Sarkar, employees should be aware how their mood could impact their reporting decisions.

“Before IT workers make decisions regarding self-committed errors, they should assess their mood and determine if they should wait until they are in a more neutral state to make reporting decisions,” he said.

The findings were published in the Information Systems Journal.

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