Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ICTs and Global Working in a Non-Flat World, Canberra, 22 January 2009

Geoff WalshamProfessor Geoff Walsham, University of Cambridge, will talk on ICTs and Global Working in a Non-Flat World at the ANU in Canberra, 22 January 2009. Professor Walsham rejects Thomas Friedman's hypothesis that ICT globalisation has made it possible to do business globally with a connected global workforce:
National Centre for Information Systems Research
ANU College of Business and Economics
Australian National University
Seminar Series

ICTs and Global Working in a Non-Flat World

Time: 12 noon -1.30 pm
Date: 22 January, 2009
Place: Faculty Suite, 1st floor, H.W. Arndt Building #25a
Followed by light lunch, Room 2110, Crisp Building #26
RSVP: for catering purposes by 21 January

Presenter: Geoff Walsham
Judge Business School
University of Cambridge

This presentation will reject the hypothesis of Thomas Friedman that ICT-enabled globalisation is driving us towards a flat world. Instead, it will be argued that the world remains uneven, full of seams, culturally heterogeneous, locally specific, inequitable, not well-integrated and constantly changing. This argument will be supported by an analysis of three areas of ICT-enabled global working, namely global software outsourcing, global IS roll-out and global virtual teams. The presentation will then build on these analyses to put forward an agenda for future IS research on ICTs and global working based on three research themes: identity and cross-cultural working; globalisation, localisation and standardisation; and power, knowledge and control.

Walsham, G. (2008)

From the slides of a previous presentation on the same topic:


Walsham, G. (2008) ‘ICTs and global working in a non-flat world’ in Information Technology in the Service Economy: Challenges and Possibilities for the 21st Century, edited by M. Barrett, E. Davidson, C. Middleton and J.L. DeGross, Springer, New York, pp 13-25.

Geoff Walsham

The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman

Three areas of ICTs and global working in a non-flat world

Global software outsourcing
Global IS roll-out
Global virtual teams

Global software outsourcing

Complex cross-cultural relationships [Krishna, Walsham and Sahay 2004]
Issues of power and control [Sahay, Nicholson and Krishna 2003]
Tensions of identity for Indian software workers [D’Mello 2005, 2006]

Global IS roll-out

Issues of local relevance, cultural fit, language etc [Joshi, Barrett, Walsham and Cappleman 2007]
Pragmatic balance between universal standards and local specificity [Rolland and Monteiro 2002]
ERP made to fit by generification work [Pollock, Williams and D’Adderio 2007], but who benefits from this and what effects does it have?

Global virtual teams

Wide team diversity - task/culture/language/IT proficiency [Dubé & Paré 2001]
Team conflict [Kankanhalli 2007]
‘Clear lack of coherent theoretical development and systematic empirical investigation’ [Tan 2007]

Themes for future research agenda

Identity and cross-cultural working
Globalization, localization and standardization
Power, knowledge and control

Future research: Identity and cross-cultural working

Widened geographical scope – outsourcing to China, IS roll-out in Nigeria or global virtual team members in Brazil [Ailon-Souday and Kunda 2003]
Heterogeneity within countries – different social groups, diasporas [Miscione 2007]
Sociology of mobilities [D’Mello and Sahay 2007]

Future research:Globalization, localization and standardization

Knowledge sharing in global organizations supported by IT [Pan and Leidner 2003]
Generification of software packages across developing countries e.g. in health IS [Braa et al 2007]
Global working and Web 2.0 technologies [Jagun et al 2007]

Future research: Power, knowledge and control

Power relations in global outsourcing relationships [Sahay et al 2003]
Who controls generification processes and whose interests are served? [Adam and Myers 2003]
Silent voices and networks of the powerful e.g. who is marginalised by global IT-based networks [Thompson 2004]


Existing literature on ICTs and global working in our non-flat world is quite limited
Future work needs to connect better to other relevant literatures and disciplines e.g. identity, culture, globalization, development
But exciting opportunity for IS researchers to make a significant contribution

From the text of ICTs and Global Working in a Non-Flat World - keynote presentation, Professor Geoff Walsham, European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation, University of London,
11-12 September 2008

No comments: