What is it about?

Empathy is vital for fostering human connections and that having a good connection among software project stakeholders may positively influence the success of a project. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no studies that study empathy in the critical relationship of software developers and end users, exploring its enablers and barriers. Due to the limited research in SE and the positive impact of empathy observed in other disciplines, we were motivated to explore this topic. We conducted a case study to explore how empathy is practiced between developers and end users.

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Why is it important?

Our study revealed the kind of awareness needed to trigger empathy and identified factors that foster empathy. We also found factors that hinder empathy and proposed potential strategies to overcome them. Our findings provide insights into the evolving relationships in software engineering and offer recommendations and suggestions for future research in empathy and software engineering for both practitioners and researchers in the field.


Empathy is a competitive advantage. When embedded in teams, empathy elevates the service provided by software systems and finds better solutions to the problems by getting to the heart of what is pivotal to all of us who are human i.e., connecting to each other. We hope this paper will inspire more research into incorporating empathy into the field of software engineering.

Hashini Gunatilake
Monash University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Enablers and Barriers of Empathy in Software Developer and User Interactions: A Mixed Methods Case Study, ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, April 2024, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery),
DOI: 10.1145/3641849.
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