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A multi-theory approach to understanding the business process outsourcing decision

Published on Jul 1, 2015in Journal of World Business
· DOI :10.1016/j.jwb.2014.08.009
Martina Gerbl2
Estimated H-index: 2
(KPMG),
Ronan McIvor33
Estimated H-index: 33
(Ulster University)
+ 1 AuthorsPaul Humphreys37
Estimated H-index: 37
(Ulster University)
Sources
Abstract
This paper proposes a framework for understanding location distance and governance model choice in the business process outsourcing (BPO) decision. Much of the current international business (IB) literature employs location-specific factors alone to explain the BPO decision, and this literature is dominated by studies of the offshore location option, with limited attention given to the local and nearshore location distance options as alternatives to offshoring. The framework proposed here was developed from integrating firm-level and process-level factors with location attractiveness factors, and undertaking in-depth case study analysis of a number of German companies. The findings highlight the value of integrating firm-level and process-level factors with location attractiveness factors to understand location distance and governance model choice in the BPO decision, and support those who have argued that existing frameworks in this area cannot fully explain the complexities of the BPO decision. Moreover, the findings provide important insights into how these factors interact to influence location distance and governance model choice. The proposed BPO framework also provides a useful basis for practical prescription.
  • References (68)
  • Citations (18)
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We submit that offshoring research focused mostly about an empirical phenomenon and extending our understanding about it, rather than expanding our understanding of the underlying theory as illuminated by empirical evidence. To theoretically frame the implications of offshoring strategy and practice for organizational design, this paper centers on the interplay between coordination and geographical distance. Distance strains the traditional approaches to coordination – i.e. decomposability and c...
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#1P.D. Orberg Jensen (CBS: Copenhagen Business School)H-Index: 15
Research has shown that offshore outsourcing processes may influence the behavior and strategic choices of firms, but little is known about the determining factors that influence the evolution and outcomes of those processes. Furthermore, longitudinal studies able to generate such insights are lacking. This paper suggests a detailed, activity-based approach to the study of the process of offshore outsourcing of high-value, advanced service activities. While earlier research has considered either...
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We combine the streams of literature on outsourcing and offshoring to investigate (1) whether choosing an R&D offshore outsourcing strategy by technological firms is advisable, and (2) where these firms are more likely to allocate these R&D services outsourcing agreements offshore, namely, in developed or developing economies. Using original survey data from European and U.S. firms in technology-intensive industries, we place especial emphasis on the fact that certain firm-specific capabilities,...
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