Past research on offshore information systems development (ISD) has found control theory to be a useful perspective for examining the co-ordination between the client and the vendor. Control literature describes two primary control modes viz. formal and informal control modes, classified as behavior, outcome, clan and self-control modes. But most control literature focuses either on the conditions for adopting a particular control mode or the influence of the chosen control mode(s) on relationship performance. Recent research on offshore ISD has uncovered two distinct control mechanisms comprising each of the control modes viz. structural and process mechanisms. Structural control mechanism describes the ‘what’ or the structure of the control mode, whereas process control mechanism explains ‘how’ or the process through which the control mode is enacted. Grounding our arguments in the alignment literature, the study theorizes the need for alignment between the control ‘structures’ and ‘processes’ within each of the control modes for effective contract performance. In effect, we posit the moderating role of control processes on the relationship between control structures and contract performance. In this research-in- progress paper, we perform a preliminary test on the theorized model, through data collected from a field study comprising offshore ISD projects executed by Indian vendors. Initial results indicate support for the ‘alignment’ argument. In future, we intend to do detailed theorizing, and ultimately test the model for different dependent variables, thereby contributing to the literature on alignment and control theory for offshore ISD.
Srivastava, Shirish C. and Teo, Thompson S. H., "Aligning Control Structures With Control Processes For Effective Offshore Contract Performance" (2012). PACIS 2012 Proceedings. 121.