Vicious and virtuous circles of offshoring attitudes and relational behaviours. A configurational study of German IT developers
2012-05-31T10:22:52Z (GMT) by
Prior research has shown that the success of offshoring is affected by relational behaviours of the employees involved in an offshoring collaboration. However, hardly anything is known about the attitudes that onshore colleagues hold towards offshoring, and how such offshoring attitudes affect relational behaviours towards offshore colleagues. We therefore present an interpretivist, qualitative case study that explores the offshoring attitudes of German information technology developers. We found that offshoring attitudes affected relational behaviours towards Indian offshore colleagues, in terms of (1) treating Indian colleagues as fellow team members as opposed to suppliers; (2) spending more or less effort in communication and knowledge transfer; and (3) supporting vs. avoiding the task transfer. These relational behaviours fed back into participants' offshoring attitudes, leading to vicious and virtuous circles. The circles created two contrasting configurations of offshoring attitudes and relational behaviours, driven by opposing forces within the departmental context. Our findings highlight the value of taking a configurational perspective for understanding offshoring success and for identifying drivers that need to be managed in order to achieve favourable configurations. We suggest that future research should further expand the typology of attitude-behaviour configurations and could apply theories of efficacy, self-reinforcing spirals and planned behaviour.