Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore information technology (IT) professionals' perception towards shift‐based work pattern used by globally distributed software development (GDSD) firms in Sri Lanka, in terms of the effects of shift work on them and strategies they used to cope with shift work. Design/methodology/approach – A self‐administered survey questionnaire was chosen as the mode for data collection. Descriptive statistics and factor analysis were used for data analysis. Findings – The findings led to identifying the characteristics of shift work environment, benefits and drawbacks of shift work for IT professionals, strategies used by IT professionals to cope with shift work, and their overall evaluation of the shift work environment. Research limitations/implications – The results of the questionnaire survey provided access to breadth of experience. If qualitative data had also been obtained they could have provided depth by adding insight and substance to the questionnaire survey. Practical implications – The findings of the study suggest that shift work creates problems for IT professionals' health that call for improvements in the areas that are deleterious while retaining or enhancing those that are beneficial for the shift‐based workforce. Social implications – The paper provides an understanding of the consequences of shift work for the rhythm of minds and bodies, families and social lives and the routines of rest of the community, and ways to cope with shift work may help the industry to flourish at large. Originality/value – Minimal literature has been found specific to the cohort of IT professionals engaged full‐time in GDSD on shift basis with respect to their view of it and issues related to their employment arrangement. It is expected that the findings of this study will provide insight into benefits, challenges and issues associated with shift work to allow individuals and organizational leaders to better understand and utilize shift‐based work pattern in GDSD. Further, it is expected that the findings of this study will be a source of general guidance in stimulating future research in this area.
Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 22, 2011
Keywords: Sri Lanka; Employees behaviour; Shift work; Information technology; Globally distributed software development; IT professionals