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2012/2013  BA-HAIT_VOFC  The Offshoring Challenges: Culture, Distance, Knowledge and Change

English Title
The Offshoring Challenges: Culture, Distance, Knowledge and Change

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Changes may occur.
schedule: monday, 11:40 14.15, week 36-41, 43-46
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Maja Dueholm - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management
Maja Dueholm (md.ikl)
Main Category of the Course
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Information Systems
  • Management of Information and Knowledge Management
  • Economic and organizational sociology
Last updated on 03-05-2012
Learning objectives
After the course students should be able to:
  • Contextualize offshoring in a globalization perspective
  • Discuss and evaluate various outsourcing models and strategies; and benefits and challenges related to these models and strategies
  • Understand the complexity of working in distributed environments and apply techniques to real-life cases to minimize such complexity. Specifically challenges relating to team spirit, motivation, trust, task specification, coordination and knowledge sharing.
  • Analyze cultural differences in real-life cases and apply techniques to minimize the negative impact of the same.
  • Understand the organizational change challenges related to offshoring and identify relevant change management activities.
Basics of organizational theory and business strategy (BSc 1st and 2nd year) and basic understanding of information technology
Individual oral examination based on 15-page project made in groups
Individual oral examination:
Type of test Oral with Written Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner Second internal examiner
Exam period December/January, Hand in in week 50 (4 weeks after last session)

Oral exam: Early January 2013
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration 20 Minutes

The re-exam takes place on the same conditions as the ordinary exam.
The project will be based on an empirical case handed out; and the students are expected to analyze the case and draft a “theory-based consultant report”, that demonstrates their ability to apply relevant theories and models to an empirical case and provide relevant recommendations based on the same.

Students are expected to give individual presentations of case assignment.
Prerequisites for attending the exam
Submission of group project based on case material
Course content
The aim of the course is to introduce the students to the operational challenges and complexities related to offshoring of IT development, IT system maintenance and helpdesk functions; as well as non-IT services, such as Business Processes, Financial Services, visual graphics services and administrative tasks.

The course will be divided into 4 modules:

Module 1: Framing Offshoring Operations (sessions 1-2)
This module will frame offshoring in a more general globalization perspective, including the political and financial dimensions of globalization.
  • In Session 1 the students will gain understanding of the various types of outsourcing and will be introduced to various models for offshoring.
  • Session 2 will discuss the strategic dimension of offshoring in relation to globalization where focus will be on labor shortage, cost-reduction, ability to innovate et cetera
Module 2: Virtual Management and Team Work (3-6)
Module 2 will be focused at the operational level of offshoring and the students will gain understanding of the challenges related to working in a distributed environment.
  • Session 3 and 4 will introduce “the distance problem” via relevant CSCW literature and give the students an overview of the challenges relating to offshoring work and mediated communication and discuss the relevant use of various communication technologies in different scenarios.
  • Session 5 will dive into the challenges related to managing a distributed team and specifically focus on establishing trust and team spirit,
  • Session 6 will look at knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing in distributed teams; and dive in to the challenges of drafting, communicating and executing specifications in a distributed team and further more take a closer look at how agile methods such as scrum and extreme programming integrates with distributed team work
Module 3: Cultural Dimensions and Cultural Intelligence (sessions 7-8)
This module will focus on the cultural aspect of offshoring.
  • Session 6 will introduce the students to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and to the GLOBE studies; and discuss the same based on research articles reporting from the field.
  • Session 7 will introduce the concepts of cultural intelligence and cultural awareness and discuss these concepts based on real-life cases.
Module 4: The Human aspect of Managing Transition to Offshore (session 9)

This module will give an introduction to change communication, cultural change management and resistance and give the students a high-level vocabulary to talk about change in the specific context of offshoring; and reflect on how the changes that organizations encounter when offshoring (as identified in the previous sessions) can be implemented and resistance can be mitigated.

Session 10 will be summarizing the syllabus and there will be dedicated time to answer questions about the exam. The project case descriptions will be handed out in this session (or at the end of session 9) and students will have time to discuss briefly in groups and ask questions.
Teaching methods
Class room lectures and discussions
Student workload
Preparation 120 hours
Teaching 30 hours
Examination 75 hours
Expected literature
The syllabus below is preliminary.
  • Steger, Manfred B. (2009): Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. Oxford
  • Carmel & Tjia (2009): Offshoring Information Technology – Sourcing and Outsourcing to a Global Workforce. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge
  • Olson, G.M.  & Olson, J.S.  (2000): Distance matters. Human Computer Interaction 15 (2000), pp. 139–178
  • Greenberg, Penelope Sue, Ralph H. Greenberg & Yvonne Lederer Antonucci: (2007): Creating and sustaining trust in virtual teams. Kelly School of Business, 325-333.
  • Hinds, P.J., and Bailey, D.E. (2003): Out of Sight, Out of Sync: Understanding Conflict in Distributed Teams, Organization Science, (14:6), 615–632.
  • Hofstede, Geert; Hofstede, Jan Geert (2005): Cultures and Organizations Software of the Mind. McGraw-Hill (selected chapters)
  • Jarvenpaa, S.L., & D.E. Leidner (1999): Communication and trust in global virtual teams, Organi-zation Science, 10(6), 791-815.
  • Kumar, R. (2005): Negotiating with the complex, imaginative Indian, Ivey Business Journal, Vol.March-April.
  • Trompenaars, F., Hampden-Turner, C. (1997): Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business. McGraw-Hill. (selected chapters)
  • Søderberg, A.-M. & Holden, N. (2002): Rethinking cross cultural management in a globalizing business world. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management 2, 103-121
  • Gregory R., Prifling M. and Beck, R. (2009): The role of cultural intelligence for the emergence of
  • negotiated culture in IT offshore outsourcing projects, Information Technology & People, 22(3), 223-241.
  • Govindarajan, V., & Gupta, A. K. (2001): Building an effective global business team. MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer, 63-71.
  • Holmström, H., Fitzgerald, B., Ågerfalk, P. J. & Conchúir, E. Ó. (2006): Agile Practices Reduce
  • Distance in Global Software Development. Information Systems Management, 23, 7-1
  • Bjørn, P. & Ngwenyama, O. (2009): Virtual team collaboration: building shared meaning, resolving breakdowns and creating translucence. Information Systems Journal, 19, 227-253
  • Madsen, S., Bødker, K., Tøth, T. (2011)Knowledge Transfer – From theory to Tooling in  SourceIT: Balancing sourcing and innovation in information system development. M. Hertzum and C. Jørgensen. Trondheim, Norway
  • Hertzum, M. & Pries-Heje, J. (2011): Is Minimizing Interaction a Solution to Cultural and Maturity Inequality in Offshore Outsourcing? in  SourceIT: Balancing sourcing and innovation in information system development. M. Hertzum and C. Jørgensen. Trondheim, Norway
  • Hughes, M.(2010): Managing Change – a critical perspective. CIPD, London. (selected chapters)
Last updated on 03-05-2012