Integration Decisions When Outsourcing, Offshoring, and Distributing Knowledge Work
Edward G. Anderson
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management
Tulane University - A.B. Freeman School of Business
February 3, 2012
This paper surveys the literature and develops a framework for research into the integration of distributed knowledge work. Knowledge work is considered to be distributed whenever it is executed in a context in which key decisions cross organizational boundaries, such as occurs in outsourcing, offshoring, or open-source arrangements. The growth of such arrangements in recent years is well-documented. Nonetheless, research into maintaining the coherence of a distributed knowledge work project from initiation to customer delivery, often referred to as supply chain integration or simply “integration,” is in a nascent state. As part of the special issue to encourage further research into this topic, we review the relevant literature from operations, service, and information management, organizational theory, and engineering design. We then pry open the “black box” of integration by inductively organizing the key decisions identified by this literature with respect to contract, organization, work, and infrastructure design of the knowledge work project. Finally, we contrast this approach with prior research frameworks, identify key topics for future study, and describe how the papers in this special issue address some of these questions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: Supply Chain Integration, Outsourcing, Offshoring, Project Management, Product Development, Service Development, Software Development, Survey, Literature Review
JEL Classification: D2, M11, O3working papers series
Date posted: February 3, 2012 ; Last revised: February 4, 2012
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