Social complexity and team cohesion in multiparty information systems development projects

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McCarthy, Stephen
O'Raghallaigh, Paidi
Fitzgerald, Ciara
Adam, Frédéric
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Taylor & Francis
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Despite the proliferation of Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for Information Systems Development (ISD), the rate of ISD project failure continues to remain exorbitantly high. In particular, social complexity is increasingly seen as an innate feature of multiparty ISD projects which make them less amenable to being ‘tamed’. However, an understanding of the intricacies of social complexity and how it impacts team cohesion in multiparty projects remains nascent. In this paper we offer findings from the case study of a funded academia-industry collaboration to investigate the elusive phenomenon of social complexity. A theoretical framework is developed to reveal the factors which contribute to social complexity and its impact on team cohesion in multiparty ISD projects. The findings derived from the application of this lens reveal the numerous challenges to team cohesion that arose from the interplay between macro- and micro-level factors. Theoretical and practical implications from the paper are also outlined.
Information systems development , Social complexity , Industry-academia collaboration Cohesion , Multiparty ISD projects , Subgroups
McCarthy, S., O’Raghallaigh, P., Fitzgerald, C. and Adam, F. (2018) 'Social complexity and team cohesion in multiparty information systems development projects', Journal of Decision Systems, pp. 1-14. doi: 10.1080/12460125.2018.1462992
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Decision Systems on 24 Apr 2018, available online: