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Swedish and Indian Teams: Consensus Culture Meets Hierarchy Culture in Offshoring
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
2013 (English)In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 7TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON IS MANAGEMENT AND EVALUATION (ECIME 2013) / [ed] Lech, P, 2013, 147-154 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article describes how the employees and managers in the Swedish and Indian offices of a European-based MNC work towards new governance models in IT offshoring relations. The focus is on the differences in organizational cultures between Sweden and India and their impact on the management of and cooperation within distributed teams. Most research on IT offshoring has been conducted on US-Indian and British-Indian cooperations, where the US and British organizational cultures are more similar to the hierarchical Indian one. As a complement to the existing research, the flat and consensus-oriented Swedish organizational culture is of particular interest when studying organizational issues in IT offshoring to India. The empirical material consists of 103 qualitative interviews with employees and managers at different levels in the Swedish and Indian offices of a European-based MNC. The results show that in addition to problems commonly faced in IT offshoring, such as resistance to offshoring and language problems (accentuated in the non-English-speaking context of Sweden), the differences in organizational cultures caused particular problems. Swedish managers were used to delegating work to subordinates who work independently towards an internalized goal, while Indian team members expected more guidance and control. As their proven management methods did not function well in the Indian context, Swedish managers needed to invent a management style that worked. The differences in the cultures also led to conflicts concerning recruitment and attrition issues. However, the Swedish company culture, where the Swedish team members viewed the Indian team members as colleagues, facilitated mutual organizational learning which led to satisfactory cooperation. This article uses the framework of Wenger (1998) to explain 1) what problems members of communities in practice in the consensus-oriented Swedish organizational culture encounter when cooperating with India, and the solutions they find and 2) what kind of prerequisites are needed for an on-site team of 'old-timers' to be willing to integrate offshore 'newcomers' for cooperative work and transfer of tacit knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 147-154 p.
Series
Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation, ISSN 2048-8912
Keyword [en]
organizational culture, organizational learning, management styles, ICT offshoring, India, Sweden
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237668ISI: 000343432100018ISBN: 978-1-909507-57-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-237668DiVA: diva2:769130
Conference
7th European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation, SEP 12-13, 2013, Sopot, POLAND
Available from: 2014-12-05 Created: 2014-12-03 Last updated: 2014-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Salminen-Karlsson, Minna

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