In this paper, we address the issue of communication difficulties on globally distributed offshoring projects. We argue that although communication issues feature prominently in the extant literature on offshoring, and in that pertaining to project management more generally, they are not dealt with in a very satisfactory way. In particular, much of the literature either treats communication as an unproblematic process of information exchange, thus implicitly embracing a naïve conduit model (Kelly 2005; Lakoff et al. 1980; Reddy 1979), or adopts a detached, factor based approach that neglects the actual practices sustaining the process of communication (for notable exceptions see Boland 1995; Kelly 2005). We draw on in-depth, longitudinal, processual case study of an offshore relationship comprised of two software development projects with varying degrees of success. By contrasting and comparing these two projects we develop a richer understanding of communication practices and the specific challenges posed by the globally distributed nature of the project teams. Based on the rich empirical evidence from these two detailed projects, we build upon and develop previous work (i.e. Kelly et al. 2008) in order to synthesize a distinctive theoretical perspective on communication practices in distributed projects based on the notion of collective socio-material sensemaking. On basis of this perspective, we, furthermore, suggest a more holistic role of project managers that is crucially concerned with senseshaping.
Vidolov, Simeon and Kelly, Seamas, "Distributed Communication as Collective Socio-material Sensemaking in Global Software Work" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 34.