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Coordination of globally distributed teams: A co-evolution perspective on offshoring

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  • Sidhu, Jatinder S.
  • Volberda, Henk W.
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    Abstract

    This article examines the coordination of an organization's onshore and offshore units from a co-evolution perspective. Literature based insights are combined with a case study of a leading IT-services provider to build new theory and a related propositional inventory. Counter-intuitively, our analysis suggests that managerial intent to promote onshore-offshore task coordination, by founding it on a common organization-wide identity and work context, can spark political conflict and result in the sub-optimal use of knowledge, skills and tools on individual projects. The analysis also reveals that effective solutions to the coordination problem are likely to emanate bottom-up, from practices that have been distilled from a range of routines and experiences as project teams learn and progressively accumulate knowledge of what works and what does not. We highlight the crucial role in this process of the senior management, proper timing of an offshore team's involvement in a project, horizontal communication and a joint onshore-offshore evaluation and reward system.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Business Review.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 278-290

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:20:y:2011:i:3:p:278-290

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    Related research

    Keywords: Onshore-offshore units Politics and conflict Shared identity Task coordination Work-context standardization;

    References

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    1. Samer Faraj & Lee Sproull, 2000. "Coordinating Expertise in Software Development Teams," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(12), pages 1554-1568, December.
    2. Henk W. Volberda & Arie Y. Lewin, 2003. "Co-evolutionary Dynamics Within and Between Firms: From Evolution to Co-evolution," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(8), pages 2111-2136, December.
    3. Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats & David M. Upton, 2009. "Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 85-100, January.
    4. Murray, Fiona, 2002. "Innovation as co-evolution of scientific and technological networks: exploring tissue engineering," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1389-1403, December.
    5. Jorge Niosi & F. Ted Tschang, 2009. "The strategies of Chinese and Indian software multinationals: implications for internationalization theory," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 269-294, April.
    6. Lee Sproull & Sara Kiesler, 1986. "Reducing Social Context Cues: Electronic Mail in Organizational Communication," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(11), pages 1492-1512, November.
    7. Mannix, Elizabeth A., 1993. "Organizations as Resource Dilemmas: The Effects of Power Balance on Coalition Formation in Small Groups," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-22, June.
    8. Burgelman, Robert A., 2002. "Strategy as Vector and the Inertia of Co-evolutionary Lock-in," Research Papers 1745, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    9. Richard L. Daft & Robert H. Lengel, 1986. "Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 554-571, May.
    10. Martin Kenney & Silvia Massini & Thomas P Murtha, 2009. "INTRODUCTIONOffshoring administrative and technical work: New fields for understanding the global enterprise," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(6), pages 887-900, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Schmeisser, Bjoern, 2013. "A Systematic Review of Literature on Offshoring of Value Chain Activities," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 390-406.

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