Let’s Look Outside the Office: Analytical Lens Unpacking Collaborative Relationships in Global Work

  • Stina Matthiesen
  • Pernille Bjørn
Conference paper


Global software development (GSD) outsourcing setups are assumed to allow IT developers to work anywhere and anytime, removing the contextual contingencies of physical location. However, we challenge this assumed flexibility in our ethnographic study on GSD work as we unpack the nature of the collaborative work through the experiences and the concerns of the collaborators in Denmark and in India. We explore the difficulties in global work to understand how the everyday work practices in the global collaboration are enacted locally. The study shows how the dissimilarities in the local conditions for work are distinctly tied to the societal infrastructures outside the office, which also shape the work within the office. Reflecting on our analytical approach, we propose three analytical moves to investigate the nature of local contextual contingencies posed by the local infrastructures and impacting global work conditions. We argue that CSCW research on global work should include analytical considerations for how societal infrastructures at the different sites impact how work is accomplished locally in transnational encounters.


Collaborative Work Collaborative Relationship Rotation Plan Bodily Experience Global Software Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study is conducted as a part of “Next Generation Technologies and Processes for Global Software Development,” #10-092313. Go to for more information. We would like to thank all the anonymous volunteers at InData and DanTech who generously offered their time for this research. Moreover, we would like to thank Marisa Cohn, Irina Shklovski, Nina Boulus-Rødje, Lars Rune Christensen, Nanna Gorm, Naja Holten Møller, and Paul Dourish for their contribution in discussing previous versions of this paper, and finally a great thanks to the anonymous reviewers for insightful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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