Old theories, 'New' technologies: understanding knowledge sharing and learning in Brazilian software development companies
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Context: New technologies such as social networks, wikis, blogs and other social software enable collaborative work and are important facilitators of the learning process. They provide a simple mechanism for people to communicate and collaborate and thus support the creation of knowledge. In software-development companies they are used to creating an environment in which communication and collaboration between workers take place more effectively. Objective: This paper identifies the main tools and technologies used by software-development companies in Brazil to manage knowledge and attempts to determine how these tools and technologies relate to important knowledge-sharing and learning theories and how they support the concepts described by these theories. Method: A survey was conducted in a group of Brazilian software development companies with high levels of process software maturity to see how they implement the Brazilian Software Processes Improvement model (MPS.Br) and use new tools and technologies. The survey used a qualitative analysis to identify which tools are used most and how frequently employees use them. The results of the analysis were compared with data from the literature on three knowledge-sharing and learning theories to understand how the use of these tools relates to the concepts proposed in these theories. Results: The results show that some of the tools used by the companies do not apply the concepts described in the theories as they do not help promote organizational learning. Furthermore, although the companies have adopted the tools, these are not often used, mainly because they are felt not to organize information efficiently. Conclusion: The use of certain tools can help promote several concepts described in the theories considered. Moreover, the use of these tools can help reduce the impact of, some common organizational problems. However, companies need to improve existing organizational policies that encourage employees to use these tools more regularly. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.