Human Capital is Not Enough: How Offshore BPO Professionals Use Social Support to Deal with Strenuous Work Conditions

40 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2020

See all articles by Jonathan Whitaker

Jonathan Whitaker

University of Richmond, Robins School of Business

Violet Ho

University of Richmond Robins School of Business

Sunil Mithas

University of South Florida

Dongwon Lee

HKUST Business School

Date Written: January 30, 2020

Abstract

The past decade has witnessed explosive growth in the segment of information technology (IT) professionals who work in the offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. BPO positions are highly regimented and standardized with coercive and normative controls to deter employees from deviating from prescribed work procedures and exercising independent judgment. Coping with these challenges requires a different set of skills than human capital and technical competencies that are discussed in most prior information systems (IS) research. This paper develops theory on the role of social support in employee compensation, and tests the theory using a unique data set of 8,000+ Indian BPO professionals during the 2006–2011 time period. Co-worker social support has a larger impact at higher levels of time stress and supervisor stress, while supervisor social support plays a larger role for senior-level positions than for junior-level positions. We discuss implications of our theory and findings for research and practice.

Keywords: BPO, compensation, co-worker, employee, human capital, IT, offshore, outsourcing, professional, social, support, wages

Suggested Citation

Whitaker, Jonathan and Ho, Violet and Mithas, Sunil and Lee, Dongwon, Human Capital is Not Enough: How Offshore BPO Professionals Use Social Support to Deal with Strenuous Work Conditions (January 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3651526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3651526

Jonathan Whitaker (Contact Author)

University of Richmond, Robins School of Business ( email )

1 Gateway Road
Richmond, VA 23229
United States
804.287.6524 (Phone)
804.289.8878 (Fax)

Violet Ho

University of Richmond Robins School of Business ( email )

1 Gateway Road
University of Richmond
Richmond, VA 23173
United States
(804) 289-8567 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://robins.richmond.edu/faculty-staff/vho/

Sunil Mithas

University of South Florida ( email )

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

Dongwon Lee

HKUST Business School ( email )

Clearwater Bay
Kowloon, 999999
Hong Kong

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