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Communication Metaphors-in-Use: Technical Communication and Offshore Systems Development

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4 Author(s)
Wareham, J. ; Dept. of Inf. Syst., Univ. of Ramon Llull, Barcelona ; Mahnke, V. ; Peters, S. ; Bjorn-Andersen, N.

Communication metaphors have been applied extensively to understand the managerial performance and organizational behavior of a single firm. However, fewer attempts have been made to apply communication metaphors to understand the dynamics of interfirm relations, or offshore partnerships. While all outsourcing contracts pose well-understood challenges, offshoring partnerships are often further complicated by culture and maturity/capability differences. Our analysis employs the results of a case study to delineate the different conversational metaphors that emerged from four discrete phases of offshore information systems development. Offshore success is contingent upon successful technical communication which is mediated through communication metaphors-in-use between vendor and client. In instances where management cannot directly dictate emergent conversational styles, it can determine organizational structure, coordination processes, contract and device incentives, and task allocation in order to cultivate a communication metaphor-in-use most appropriate to the specific phase of the offshore partnership, thereby mitigating many of the complications posed by culture and maturity differences

Published in:

Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

June 2007

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