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Managers as lazy, stupid careerists? Contestation and stereotypes among software engineers
Journal of Organizational Change Management (2007)
  • Dariusz Jemielniak, Kozminski University
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a qualitative study of software engineers' perception of dress code, career, organizations, and of managers. Design/methodology/approach – The software engineers interviewed work in three European and two US companies. The research is based on ethnographic data, gathered in two longitudinal studies during the period2001-2006 . The methods used in the study include open-ended unstructured interviews, participant observation, collection of stories, and shadowing. Findings – It was found that the majority of software engineers denounce formal dress-codes. The notion of career was defined by them mostly in terms of occupational development. They perceived their own managers as very incompetent. Their view on corporations was also univocally negative. The findings confirm that software engineers form a very distinctive occupation, defining itself in opposition to the organization. However, their distinctiveness may be perceived not only as a manifestation of independence but also contrarily, as simply fulfilling the organizational role they are assigned by management. Originality/value – The study contributes to the organizational literature by responding to the call for more research on high-tech workplace practices, and on non-managerial occupational roles.
  • software engineers and managers,
  • organizational resistance,
  • knowledge work,
  • IT projects tensions,
  • managers as stupid,
  • perception of managers by programmers,
  • software engineers' culture
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jemielniak, Dariusz (2007) Managers as lazy, stupid careerists? Contestation and stereotypes among software engineers, Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 20 (4), pp. 491-508