Efficacy of R&D Work in Offshore Captive Centers: An Empirical Study of Task Characteristics, Coordination Mechanisms and Performance
Information Systems Research: Special Issue on Information, Technology and Changing Nature of Work, Forthcoming
43 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 18, 2014
Seizing the latest technological advances in distributed work, an increasing number of firms have set up offshore captive centers in emerging economies to carry out sophisticated R&D work. We analyze survey data from 132 R&D captive centers established by foreign multinational companies in India to understand how firms manage the execution of distributed innovative work. Specifically, we examine the performance outcomes of projects employing different technology-enabled coordination strategies to manage their interdependencies across multiple locations. We find that modularization of work across locations is largely ineffective when the underlying tasks are less routinized, less analyzable, and less familiar to the captive center. Coordinating based on information sharing across locations is effective when the captive center performs tasks that are less familiar to it. A key contribution of our work is the explication of the task contingencies under which coordination based on modularization versus information sharing yield differential performance outcomes.
Keywords: Offshoring, Captive Centers, R&D, Coordination, Distributed Work, Modularization, Information Sharing, Performance, knowledge-intensive work
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