The Cross Cultural Challenges of Offshoring

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In a recent Accenture study, cultural issues were listed as one of the main reasons for problems in offshore outsourcing deals and over half of National Outsourcing Association (NOA) members surveyed recently also said cultural differences are still an issue in offshore outsourcing deals.

Two factors that are rarely present in any domestic projects, but cannot be avoided when going offshore, are geographical distance and cultural differences.

Geographical distance might be a factor in terms of unfavorable time zone differences but today most of the offshore service providers ensure that their business hours are adjusted to ensure that you have several hours of overlap per day in common.

However the impact of cultural difference is something that should not be ignored when going offshore. Depending on the location you are offshore outsourcing to, cultural differences can vary from minor if you nearshore, for instance in Ireland or Eastern Europe to a real cultural clash if you offshore to low cost countries in Asia such as India or China.

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