BIS Seminar: Professor Detmar Straub

14 April, 2018 - 10:30 to 12:00
Chamberlain Building (35), Room 104

Archetypes of IT Outsourcing Strategies:  A Set-Theoretic Configurational Approach

This paper seeks to develop dominant archetypes of IT outsourcing strategy. We put forward an overarching conceptual framework that integrates the multiple theoretical perspectives that have been widely adopted in the IT outsourcing literature, namely the theories of transaction cost economics, resource dependency, and social exchange. In particular, we adopt a systemic contingency fit and configurational approach to investigate the complex relationships between a focal firm and its outsourcing vendors in achieving specific strategic objectives under different contingencies. In line with this theoretical objective, we use qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), a set-theoretic configuration method which enables us to handle the complexity of interdependencies between the multiple elements of IT outsourcing. We apply QCA to a sample of 235 companies that have outsourced their IT functions and empirically uncover two sets of configurations, with one set of configurations exhibiting high efficiency and the other set exhibiting high effectiveness in IT outsourcing projects. Then, we compare similarities and differences between equifinal configurations and suggest the archetypes of IT outsourcing strategy internally congruent in terms of the strategic objectives as well as matching specific contexts of IT outsourcing projects. Our archetypes integrate the fragmented and inconsistent knowledge in IT outsourcing resulting from the complexity of IT outsourcing projects and the different theoretical perspectives in the literature. Furthermore, contingency boundaries of the archetypes provide organizations with context-specific guidelines for strategic decisions regarding their relationships with outsourcing vendors, thus helping organizations to more effectively achieve success in IT outsourcing

Professor Detmar Straub

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