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Abstract

Global Software Alliances (GSAs) are a relatively new organizational form that firms are increasingly adopting to meet their software development needs. These relationships are fraught with complexity given the temporal, spatial and cultural separation of the firm contracting out the software development work and the firm doing the development. In this paper, we focus on the challenge of standardization that contributes significantly to the ongoing complexity. The nature of the standardization problem is elaborated, and the tensions that are associated in their implementation are analyzed. A key implication arising from the paper is the need to broaden the technical focus on standards that have existed in prior research, and to give increased emphasis on management practices. Latour’s idea of “circulating reference” is introduced to analyze the question of “what is lost, what is gained, and what remains invariant in the process of translation?”

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