Commitment, Trust and Cultural Sensitivity in Strategic Partnerships
Much research has studied off-shore outsourcing from a Western client perspective. This article tries to shed light on what an Indian vendor perceives as important to manage large and complex strategic partnerships in IT outsourcing, and in particular how mutually profitable, long-term relationships with European clients are created and maintained, both at company and project levels. We investigate this issue through qualitative interviews with various vendor representatives in offshore and on-site teams in a top tier multinational company of Indian origin. In the analysis of interview accounts of close collaboration processes in two large and complex projects, where off-shoring of software development is moved to a strategic level, we found that the vendor was able to establish a strategic partnership through long-term engagement with the field of banking and insurance as well as through conscious relationship management with the clients. Three major themes describe important aspects of the strategic partnerships: 1) senior management commitment and employee identification with the projects, 2) mutual trust and transparency, and 3) cross-cultural understanding and sensitivity. The article draws attention to the important collaborative work done by people who are able to span boundaries in the complex organizational set-up of global IT development projects.
Journal of International Management, 2013, Vol 19, Issue 4