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Self-interest or the greater good: How political and rational dynamics influence the outsourcing process

Marshall, Donna, Ambrose, Eamon, McIvor, Ronan and Lamming, Richard (2014) Self-interest or the greater good: How political and rational dynamics influence the outsourcing process. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35 (4). pp. 547-576. [Journal article]

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-03-2013-0124


Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the influence of political goals and behaviour on the outsourcing decision process and outcomes.Design/methodology/approach– The research used an exploratory longitudinal case-based approach. Eight outsourcing projects in three telecommunications companies were analysed from the initial decision to the outcome of the case.Findings– The authors show how political goals and behaviours influence the outsourcing decision process and inductively develop four political goals: personal reputation, attainment, elimination and control. The authors also identify three dynamic outsourcing paths: the personal reputation path, which leads to successful outcomes; the short-term attain and eliminate path leading to unsuccessful outcomes; and the destabilised path, which leads to mixed outcomes. All of these can be tested in other empirical settings.Research limitations/implications– The implications for outsourcing literature are that political intentions influence the decision process and outcomes. For theorists, the authors provide an understanding of how political and rational goals and behaviour interact to impact outsourcing outcomes: with political and rational goals and behaviour complementary in some instances. The limitations are that with a small sample the findings are generalisable to theoretical propositions rather than to a population.Practical implications– The implications for managers are the ability to identify and manage political goals that influence outsourcing decision process and outcomes.Originality/value– For the first time, the authors uncover the political goals that impact the outsourcing decision process and outcomes. The authors add to the outsourcing literature, transaction cost theory and resource-based theory by defining and understanding the political goals that complement these theories.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Outsourcing, Case study
Faculties and Schools:Ulster Business School > Department of International Business
Ulster Business School
Research Institutes and Groups:Business and Management Research Institute
ID Code:35776
Deposited By: Professor Ronan McIvor
Deposited On:06 Sep 2016 09:39
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:25

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