The Domestic Turn: Business Processing Outsourcing and the Growing Automation of Kenyan Organisations
Mann, L., and Graham, M. (2016). The Domestic Turn: Business Processing Outsourcing and the Growing Automation of Kenyan Organisations. Journal of Development Studies, (Forthcoming).
34 Pages Posted: 11 May 2015 Last revised: 22 Mar 2016
Date Written: May 9, 2015
After observing the growth of the Indian and Filipino Business Processing Outsourcing sectors, Kenyan policy-makers and managers made substantial investments in international internet infrastructure and BPO marketing campaigns. While observers continue to discuss the sector in terms of its international work opportunities, in recent years the sector has increasingly focused on contracts sourced from Kenyan and other East African clients. The government has also refocused efforts on attracting international BPO companies. This domestic turn signals both the difficulties of gaining access to overseas work due to the power of incumbents and the increasing use of the internet and ICT-enabled automation within Kenyan organizations. In effect, better connectivity has enabled a two-way globalisation of services: Kenyan BPO companies have been able to access some international work opportunities but the connectivity has also contributed to the inflow of international service companies and business practices into Kenya. The conclusion examines what these shifts might entail for the sector and its workers in future.
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