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But in the Japanese client contracts we studied, outsourcing less structured yet more creative tasks helped build meaningful interactions and relationships. Therefore, a contingent perspective had to inform our analysis of field data. 6 Such ideas are familiar from the business alliance literature,7 and they also seemed to help explain the dynamics of the GSO relationships we investigated. Successful relationships were those in which a high degree of congruence occurred between developer and client: we call this synching.

S. Krishna is a professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His research interests concern global software work arrangements. He holds a PhD in software engineering and chairs IIMB’s software enterprise management program, focusing on research and management education in partnership with the local software industry. Contact him at the Indian Inst. in. Brian Nicholson is a lecturer in information systems at the School of Accounting and Finance, University of Manchester. His research interests focus on understanding the complexities of software development between the UK and India, which was also the topic of his PhD.

Another example of cultural dissonance was project leakage: slippage in the amount of time dedicated to a project. In the UK, leakage was typically 2 to 3 percent; in India, it was typically 25 to 30 percent. The problem arose over definitions of leakage. From the UK perspective, it was measured not in terms of deadlines, but in terms of how much time was spent on a task. From the Indian staff’s perspective, deadlines mattered but time spent did not, and they felt that UK values were insensitive to Indian conditions.

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