Reframing Outsourcing Through Social Networks: Evidence from Infocert's Case Study
24 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 2014
In an over-connected world where ICTs dominate firms' development and evolution, outsourcing is an increasingly adopted practice by IT firms facing a third-generation of inter-firm interactions: after the IT and business processes' outsourcing, and then the offshore outsourcing, now we face a sourcing ecosystem tagged as human cloud, where the online work and virtual workers are the center of the new system. Notwithstanding some relevant contributions to the literature about IT outsourcing, still few is known about how coordination between client and supplier can achieve superior outcomes through the development of collaborative practices. In particular, the use of IT tools devoted to sociality as a coordination mechanism has been under-investigated. This research provides insights about how a company can change attitudes and behaviors of client and supplier thanks to an IT tool deputed to collaboration: the social collaboration system. Through an explorative case study, our paper provides two main contributions to the literature about IT outsourcing: i) we show how the adoption of a social collaboration system improves ITO governance and performance, providing further empirical evidence on the role of social mechanisms in ITO relationships; ii) we show how the introduction of a social collaboration system in outsourcing management can influence and change the building blocks of its life-cycle.
Keywords: IT outsourcing, governance, social collaboration, relational view, outsourcing lifecycle
JEL Classification: L24, M55
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