Information Systems Frontiers

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 397–409 | Cite as

Pair programming teams and high-quality knowledge sharing: A comparative study of coopetitive reward structures



There has been a growing research interest in understanding knowledge sharing in agile development. Yet, empirical research that sheds light on its underlying practices, such as pair programming, is evolving. This study uses insights from coopetition and software literature to focus inquiry on the relation between coopetitive rewards and high-quality knowledge sharing in pair programming teams. Theoretical hypotheses are developed and validated, suggesting that: ‘coopetitive rewards influence high-quality knowledge sharing both directly and over time through their impact on the level of knowledge sharing satisfaction’, and, ‘the impact of coopetitive rewards on high-quality knowledge sharing is dependent upon task complexity and the history of working under similar reward structure’. This study generates new understanding related to the use of rewards in pair programming teams, and offers a rigorous and replicable seven-step experimental process for simulating coopetitive structures and investigating their role in pair programming and in similar collaborative contexts.


Pair programming Agile development Software team Knowledge sharing Information sharing Rewards Coopetition Competitive reward Cooperation Competition 



The first author received the experimental small project grant from the ASB experimental research laboratory in 2011. Thanks to Ben Greiner for his feedback in designing the experiments, Claude Sammut for his input in designing the tasks, and Matthew Tolhurst for his support in running the experiments. Many thanks also to the review team for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Business SchoolThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Business, Government and LawUniversity of CanberraCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.School of ManagementUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia

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