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Work Systems in the Indian Information Technology (IT) Industry Delivering Artificial Intelligence (AI) Solutions and the Challenges of Work from Home
Published in Springer
Volume: 25
Issue: 4
Pages: 1375 - 1399
Our study is based on a workplace ethnography conducted between Jan-May 2020 in an AI research lab of an Indian service-based IT organization, whose operations shifted from co-located work to work from home (WFH) owing to the recent pandemic. The field notes of the ethnographer, working as a full-time intern in a running AI project within this lab, is the basis for the qualitative data for this study. We discuss the socio-technical aspects and the specific challenges of distributed team-working due to the WFH norms facing such emerging research units, which are rapidly diffusing across the IT industry in the offshoring context, particularly in India. We rely on work system theory as a map to bring out key findings from our ethnographic observations. The findings point to the importance of having workflows compatible with the specific work roles in such emerging work systems – particularly for the beginner roles in the AI space. Our study contributes to the IS literature by depicting the challenges of distributed teams in a relatively novel setting emerging in offshoring contexts like the Indian IT sector, and suggests implications for managers handling AI projects and tackling employee-focused Human Resource practices in such settings. © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
About the journal
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers