New York– Human mood and personality play a critical role in how companies should manage their IT systems, says a new study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher, adding that organisations focus too much on the technical and mechanical aspects of IT errors rather than the human and environmental aspects.

“The mood and personality traits of the software development team affect how they report on self-committed errors in IT projects. A minor glitch in design or programming can have devastating consequences. For example, even a small error in software design could result in a NASA capsule disaster in outer space,” said Sumantra Sarkar from Binghamton University.

Sumantra Sarkar
Sumantra Sarkar

The researchers examined how human elements influence IT errors and decision-making and established a theoretical framework intended to explain some of the decision-making processes associated with reporting self-committed errors.

Since the study suggests IT errors are caused by a combination of factors, the researchers said that it is important to adopt various procedures to identify inefficiencies, ineffective care and preventable errors to make improvements associated with the IT systems.

“And, it is important to look at individuals working on information technology teams,” the study noted.

According to the researchers, current study on IT error reporting mainly explores the issues related to resources and technology, such as budget shortages, hardware malfunctions or labour shortages.

“We found a difference in the self-committed IT error reporting process of developers depending on if they were in a positive or negative mood,” Sarkar said.

“When IT workers were in a positive mood, they were less likely to report on self-committed errors. This can be explained by how being in a positively elevated state can impede one’s cognitive processing,” she added.

The study has managerial implications, too.

Managers should establish a good rapport with team members to foster an environment that will allow employees to speak up when they feel their mood could affect their reporting decisions.