Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 27 Number 4 2011 pp. 261-298

Mitigating Vendor Silence in Offshore Outsourcing: An Empirical Investigation

Jain, Radhika P, Simon, Judith C, and Poston, Robin S

ABSTRACT: The tendency to remain silent about project-related issues can contribute to suboptimal project performance or project failure. Prior research in offshore outsourcing suggests that client managers should play a critical role to induce offshore vendors’ employees not only to report project problems in a timely fashion but also to brainstorm and contribute ideas to a project. Also, the extant research on cross-cultural teams has emphasized the importance of cultural adaptation in the smooth functioning of these teams, but the role of cultural adaptation in silence mitigation has been largely underdeveloped in the literature. In this research, we bring these concepts of vendor silence and cultural adaptation in cross-cultural teams together and develop a process framework that illustrates how vendor silence may be mitigated in offshore outsourcing through various silence mitigation mechanisms. We then develop three propositions for organizational action toward mitigating vendor silence, which highlight the mediating role of cultural adaptation.

Key words and phrases: collaboration effectiveness, information technology outsourcing, mum effect, offshore outsourcing, offshore project management, organizational silence, silence mitigation, vendor silence