Offshoring attitudes and relational behaviours in German-Indian offshoring collaborations. Reflections from a field study
Offshoring arrangements have become a common setting for intercultural collaborations. There is ample evidence that the success of these offshoring arrangements is influenced on the relational behaviours between offshore and onshore colleagues. However, it has not been questioned whether and how the attitudes that onshore colleagues hold towards offshoring affect their relational behaviours towards offshore colleagues. This paper draws together the literatures on offshoring and transnational teams, to argue for the importance of offshoring attitudes. It presents a qualitative case study examining the offshoring attitudes of German IT developers working with Indian colleagues in an Indian subsidiary of the firm. The inquiry revealed that respondent's offshoring attitudes were associated with their relational behaviours towards Indian offshore colleagues, namely whether Germans treated their Indian colleagues as fellow team members or as mere suppliers, how much effort they spent in communicating and transferring knowledge, and whether they supported or avoided the transfer of tasks to India. Importantly, these relational behaviours also had a reverse effect on the German's offshoring attitudes, creating vicious and virtuous circles of offshoring attitudes and relational behaviours. Certain departmental context factors were identified to explain the differences in offshoring attitudes and resulting vicious and virtuous circles. The findings demonstrate that researchers and practitioners have to pay more attention to offshoring attitudes in order to better understand relational behaviours between onshore and offshore members, and thereby achieve more successful offshoring collaborations.
- Business and Economics