Title: The use of online communities of practice in the software industry: learnings from Facebook communities in Sri Lanka

Authors: Manoja Weerasekara; Åsa B. Smedberg

Addresses: Faculty of Computing, NSBM Green University Town, Pitipana, Homagama, Sri Lanka; The Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, Kista, Sweden ' The Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, Kista, Sweden

Abstract: Online communities of practice (CoPs) for professionals is a growing phenomenon in social networking. Such an online CoP consists of people who share their work-related knowledge, experiences, ideas, and practices using different electronic modes. The study focuses on the potential use of online CoPs for social support among software professionals who need to manage a demanding work-life. Five Facebook (FB) groups comprising software employees were cross-examined qualitatively using thematic analysis. The results revealed how software engineers engaged in different practices and activities to support each other in the communities. It was noted how the group members exerted social support, which is considered a key element in occupational health. The findings provide promising insights into how software professionals collaborate and support each other in cyberspace, which could be further explored to design technology that could foster online communities for software employees who need to manage their occupational stress.

Keywords: work-support; communities of practice; CoP; online communities; software professionals; FB; social support; empathy; occupational stress; stress management; information sharing; knowledge sharing; Sri Lanka.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2022.124782

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2022 Vol.18 No.2, pp.186 - 209

Received: 31 May 2021
Accepted: 03 Mar 2022

Published online: 08 Aug 2022 *

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