Purpose – This paper focuses on how shared objects created by support departments in a software development firm facilitate the advancement of learning and knowledge sharing. Objects can be both facilitative and restrictive in certain ways, and the study seeks to enhance our understanding of how they can be made more facilitative. Design/methodology/approach – This study can best be described as a single location exploratory case study in which data were predominantly gathered through unstructured interviews. The theoretical perspective of practice‐oriented studies is adopted, specifically utilizing activity theory to understand and analyze objects. Findings – It is pointed out that, striving to understand objects with a focus on their often unanticipated usage can be useful in making them more facilitative. While emphasizing that objects are not used coherently in the field, the study explores how they could be made more facilitative by focusing on situated ways in which they act in the field. It was observed that they could become more facilitative by being shells with higher degrees of configurability, by being legitimate facades that create interesting contexts of multi‐project interactions and by being anchors of stability in an organizational setting of constant flux. Originality/value – The research is exploratory in nature and has focused on the introduction of new ways of looking at objects in project‐based organizations. An enhanced understanding of the dynamics of objects in project settings can enable project personnel and support service personnel to make them more facilitative. For researchers, this study contributes to the discussions on understanding objects by proposing new ways of looking at the role of objects in project‐based organizations.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 13, 2011
Keywords: Computer software; Outsourcing; Software development; Learning; Knowledge sharing; Objects