This article examines the coordination of an organization's onshore and offshore units from a co-evolution perspective. Literature based insights are combined with a case study of a leading IT-services provider to build new theory and a related propositional inventory. Counter-intuitively, our analysis suggests that managerial intent to promote onshore–offshore task coordination, by founding it on a common organization-wide identity and work context, can spark political conflict and result in the sub-optimal use of knowledge, skills and tools on individual projects. The analysis also reveals that effective solutions to the coordination problem are likely to emanate bottom-up, from practices that have been distilled from a range of routines and experiences as project teams learn and progressively accumulate knowledge of what works and what does not. We highlight the crucial role in this process of the senior management, proper timing of an offshore team's involvement in a project, horizontal communication and a joint onshore–offshore evaluation and reward system. Highlights ► Shared identity building programs are detrimental to onshore-offshore coordination. ► Focus on work-context standardization is counterproductive. ► Horizontal communication at different hierarchical levels fosters coordination. ► Joint rewards for onshore-offshore team members are important. ► Senior-management must encourage bottom-up emergence of coordination initiatives.

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Keywords onshore–offshore units, politics and conflict, shared identity, task coordination, work-context standardization
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2011.01.006, hdl.handle.net/1765/23500
Citation
Sidhu, J.S., & Volberda, H.W.. (2011). Coordination of globally distributed teams: A co-evolution perspective on offshoring. International Business Review, 20(3), 278–290. doi:10.1016/j.ibusrev.2011.01.006