2014- Reprints:Technology and Information Systems

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Achilles’ heel strategy: Identifying and leveraging a competitor’s weakest point,  International Journal of Production Research, 52(3), 651-661, 2014;  DOI:  10.1080/00207543.2013.825746 
E. Kollenscher, B. Ronen and A. Coman  
(Reprint No. 285)

Significant developments in military strategy over the past century have had little impact, if any, on business strategy. This article focuses on the military paradigm shift from brute-force frontal confrontation as practised in the First World War to shrewd identification of weaknesses in the adversary’s rear. To apply this insight in the business world, we present a methodology focusing on the weakest link: the Achilles’ heel. We apply this methodology in identifying the adversary’s Achilles’ heel and attacking it. We aim to avoid attacking the competitor’s front namely its products in the marketplace through painful head-to-head attrition price and advertising wars. Instead, we propose a new attack strategy – focusing on the adversary’s weakest link. The study integrates a new military insight, specifically from an approach called operational theory, with an insight from the theory of constraints. The sophistication of the Achilles’ heel strategy makes it particularly effective for small players – David competing with large Goliaths. We present a methodology: identifying the Achilles’ heel; deciding whether or not to attack it; and tailoring an Achilles’ heel strategy. The theory is illustrated by numerous business and military applications.


Understanding reuse of software examples: A case study of prejudice in a community of practice, Information and Software Technology, 56, 1613-1628, 2014;  DOI:  10.1016/j.infsof.2014.02.013 
O. Barzilay and C. Urquhart  
(Reprint No. 294)

Context: The context of this research is software developers’ perceptions about the use of code examples in professional software development.

Objective: The primary objective of this paper is to identify the human factors that dominate example usage among professional software developers, and to provide a theory that explains these factors.

Method: To achieve this goal, we analyzed the perceptions of professional software developers as manifested on LinkedIn online community. We analyzed the data qualitatively using adapted grounded theory research procedures.

Results: The research yields an initial framework of key factors that dominate professional developers’ perception regarding example usage. We use the theoretical lens of prejudice theory to put these factors in a broader context, and outline initial recommendations to address these factors in professional organizational context.

Conclusion: The results of this work, in particular the use of qualitative techniques – allowed us to obtain rich insight into key human factors that affect professional software developers, and enrich the body of literature on the issues of reuse. These factors need to be taken into account as part of an organizational reuse strategy.

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