Diversity & Inclusion is a pivotal challenge of contemporary software engineering due to the lack of women and underrepresented groups in general among software professionals. Software is eventually an artifact crafted by developers and used pervasively on a global scale by all kinds of people. However, it is still developed by an overall minority of professionals, missing some potentially crucial perspective that might be overseen. Therefore, the inclusion of underrepresented professionals is one of the best options to build software teams that can truly craft “software for all”.
For sure, one of the biggest underrepresented group are women in STEM. In this project, in collaboration with Klaas-Jan Stol, we run a large-scale study of about 500 software engineers assessing their personality traits. Thus, we analyzed the traits differences between self-identified men and women using several Bayesian statistical approaches and Network analysis. By understanding such differences we advanced the following implications relevant to build a more diverse environment.
Individual job performance
Women have higher Honesty-Humility personality trait, which is a strong predictor of job performance, compared to men
Including women in software teams increases team performance and decreases workplace delinquency such as absenteeism and alcohol abuse
Men are emotionally more stable but have higher psychopathic traits than women, which score higher in Openness to Experience
As both men and women exhibit negative and positive traits linked to teaming, mixed-gender teams will perform better than non-mixed teams
Extraversion has the average shortest paths between the other traits. The paths to pass through Extraversion are shorter than other traits, and it is also easier to pass from the other traits to Extraversion
Extrovert employees are best suited to drive long-term, organization-wide transformation processes
Honest-Humility better predicts the direct impact of one node to the entire network and is the most central node within the network
Software professionals who score high on the Honest-Humility personality trait are best suited to conduct pilot evaluations of new practices and tools.
Management of complexity
Women have more relations between the traits, with respect to men. More nodes spread information to others than men’s
Women software engineers can deal better with complex social tasks, especially in relation to people