A study on the influence of cultural differences on the behavior of software engineers/managers between Chinese and Scandinavians.

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Abstract: Abstract Background: In the context of increasing globalization, more and more software engineers/managers work in foreign companies, and they are exposed to the culture of different countries. According to Hofstede's five cultural dimensions, culture can be divided into Individualism and Collectivism, Power Distance, Masculinity, Uncertainty avoidance, and Long-term orientation and short-term orientation. From extensive empirical research performed by Hofstede and his colleagues, we found that the cultural dimension scores of different countries are different, which shows that different countries have different cultures. Through study related papers, we find that cultural differences can affect the behavior of software engineers/managers, causing differences in the behavior of software engineers/managers, and some behavioral differences can make influences/misunderstandings between software engineers/managers. These influences/misunderstandings may have an impact on project progress and personal work during software development. Objectives: In this thesis, we want to understand the concrete behavioral differences in how software engineers/managers work caused by cultural differences. After getting these behavioral differences, we want to understand which influence or misunderstandings arise from the software engineers/managers' behavioral differences. Finally, we want to get some suggestions from software engineers/managers on how to prevent/solve these misunderstandings or influences, we summarized these suggestions to help them face people from Chinese or Scandinavian culture.   Methods: In this research, we used qualitative research. We chose a systematic literature review (SLR) to helped us answer which behavioral differences will be caused by cultural differences. Then we used questionnaire and interview the two survey methods to collect which influence or misunderstandings arise from the software engineers/managers' behavioral differences and some suggestions to help software engineers/managers to solve/prevent negative influence or misunderstandings. Results: Through systematic literature review, we have collected 26 papers, and classified the results from these 26 papers according to five cultural dimensions, summarizing and analyzing the behavioral differences between Chinese and Scandinavian software engineers/managers. Through questionnaires and interviews, we got 37 responses. For these responses, we use coding to classify the data, finally, we analyzed and list the influences/misunderstandings and suggestions. Finally we have collected 64 behavioral differences, 7 influences or misunderstandings, 15 preventive measures and 8 solutions to prevent or resolve these influence/misunderstanding. Conclusions: Our research has achieved research goals and answered research questions. Comparing the behavioral differences collected by SLR and survey, we found that survey responses can confirm that most of the behavioral differences in SLR studies experienced by Chinese and Scandinavian software engineers/managers. But there are some behavioral differences that don't appear in both the Survey and SLR data, this should be caused by the sample of our research is not large enough. For these behavioral differences, we found that respondents knew that there were cultural differences between Chinese and Scandinavian software engineers/managers. But not all respondents have been exposed to these behavioral differences. There are also individual differences in the impact of behavioral differences on software engineers/managers. We also found that the best way to solve/prevent these effects is to communicate more.

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