Integrating Distributed Work: Comparing Task Design, Communication and Tacit Coordination Mechanisms

58 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2008 Last revised: 28 Jul 2010

See all articles by Kannan Srikanth

Kannan Srikanth

Singapore Management University - Management Department; University of Southern Denmark - Strategic Organization Design unit (SOD)

Phanish Puranam

INSEAD

Date Written: February 1, 2008

Abstract

We investigate coordination strategies in the remote delivery of business services (i.e. Business Process Offshoring). We analyze 126 surveys of offshored processes to understand both the sources of difficulty in the remote delivery of services as well as how organizations overcome these difficulties. We find that interdependence between offshored and onshore processes can lower offshore process performance. Investment in coordination mechanisms such as modularity, ongoing communication and generating common ground across locations ameliorate the performance impact of interdependence. In particular, we are able to show that building common ground - knowledge that is shared and known to be shared - across locations is a coordination mechanism that is distinct from building communication channels or modularising processes. Our results also suggest the firms may be investing less in common ground than they should.

Keywords: Coordination, Offshoring, Modularity, Common Ground, Interdependence, offshore outsourcing

Suggested Citation

Srikanth, Kannan and Puranam, Phanish, Integrating Distributed Work: Comparing Task Design, Communication and Tacit Coordination Mechanisms (February 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1125924 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1125924

Kannan Srikanth (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - Management Department ( email )

50 Stamford Rd
Singapore, 178899
Singapore

University of Southern Denmark - Strategic Organization Design unit (SOD) ( email )

Campusvej 55
Odense, DK-5230 M
Denmark

Phanish Puranam

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore, 138676
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/profiles/ppuranam/

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