Outsourcing as Compassion? The Case of the Manufacture of Cigarettes By Poor Catholic Nuns (1817-1819)

36 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2007

See all articles by Salvador Carmona

Salvador Carmona

Instituto de Empresa

Fernando Gutierrez

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Date Written: April 2003


The rhetoric of dissemination of outsourcing stresses its alignment with organizational strategy and its linkage to the interests of firms' stakeholders. In practice, however, performance improvements attributed to outsourcing are sometimes caused by deliberate malpractices like extensive hiring of children in operations and opportunistic searches for permissive legislations on issues such as environmental protection, social security and employee benefits. This study adopted a historical perspective to trace back outsourcing through examination of the case of cigarette manufacturing by poor Catholic nuns during 1817-1819, that is, from the launch of said product until the cessation of operations as a consequence of low demand. In the context of an absolutist regime, justification for the outsourcing decision drew on arguments of compassion towards poor nunneries. The decision was enacted in a decree signed by King Fernando VII and assigned monitoring of outsourcing to the Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville. In this paper, we examined the divergence between public discourse and actual practice from the standpoint of the Foucauldian framework of power/knowledge. Instead of compassion, our findings suggested that actual practice was inspired by the concomitant effects of (i) the deployment of political influences on the RTF management to ensure deterrence of gender conflicts within the manufactory; and (ii) exploitation of the disciplinary tradition of nunneries by the tobacco monopoly.

Keywords: Outsourcing, foucault, management control

Suggested Citation

Carmona, Salvador and Gutierrez, Fernando, Outsourcing as Compassion? The Case of the Manufacture of Cigarettes By Poor Catholic Nuns (1817-1819) (April 2003). Instituto de Empresa Business School Working Paper No. WP03-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1019788 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1019788

Salvador Carmona (Contact Author)

Instituto de Empresa ( email )

Pinar 15, 1
Madrid, 28006
917451377 (Phone)

Fernando Gutierrez

Universidad Pablo de Olavide ( email )

Sevilla, Seville 41010