PurposeTechnological outsourcing requires possessing the technological capability level by enterprises taking the outsourced activity and further mandates build-up capabilities. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing nations such as Ethiopia are usually equipped with low level of technological capability and could benefit from government-supported or government-initiated outsourcing networks. The current study aims to preliminarily assess performance of outsourcing initiative taken by the Hibret Manufacturing and Machine Building Industry, a subsidiary of a national corporation, in developing technological capability of SMEs in Ethiopia.Design/methodology/approachThe study used a qualitative research approach through interviews with the parent company officials and owners of SMEs and site visit to these SMEs. Findings are organized in a way to draw lessons to be learned from technological outsourcing examined.FindingsTechnological learning, acquisition of new technologies, market access and process innovation are few capabilities achieved by the involved SMEs. To facilitate and harness these opportunities and further assist in policy ratification, a conceptual framework has been presented and elaborated.Research limitations/implicationsFurther investigation into outsourcing procedure and biases are expected to shed further light onto the outsourcing initiative by the parent company. This study drew results from investigation of the SMEs involved. Additional investigation of other SMEs is expected to reveal additional insights.Originality/valueThere is a dearth of literature focusing on exploration of technological outsourcing in low-income developing countries, such as Ethiopia, to build SMEs’ technological capabilities. This research presents insightful contribution to strategic outsourcing to build local technological capability in developing economies.
Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 21, 2016