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Outsourcing as a mode of organizational learning

Outsourcing as a mode of organizational learning Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which outsourcing can be regarded as a mode of increasing organization learning through the internalization of new routines. Design/methodology/approach – The paper features six case studies of firms that have outsourced parts, or all of their information technology (IT) activities. Findings – When a firm outsources an IT activity (that has been performed in‐house), it needs to develop an ability to specify to its supplier(s), and articulate its IT requirements in explicit terms. Firm's effort to externalize knowledge that was internal to an external supplier implies that a great deal of relatively tacit knowledge has to be converted into explicit knowledge, so that suppliers are able to understand the firm's business specificity. In this very process of externalizing knowledge and interacting with suppliers and other market players, the firm develops new rules, routines and procedures relating to how to manage the outsourced IT activity, which over time will be internalized. Originality/value – The paper is of value in linking outsourcing and organizational learning. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Outsourcing as a mode of organizational learning

Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal , Volume 2 (1): 17 – Feb 20, 2009

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-8297
DOI
10.1108/17538290910935882
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which outsourcing can be regarded as a mode of increasing organization learning through the internalization of new routines. Design/methodology/approach – The paper features six case studies of firms that have outsourced parts, or all of their information technology (IT) activities. Findings – When a firm outsources an IT activity (that has been performed in‐house), it needs to develop an ability to specify to its supplier(s), and articulate its IT requirements in explicit terms. Firm's effort to externalize knowledge that was internal to an external supplier implies that a great deal of relatively tacit knowledge has to be converted into explicit knowledge, so that suppliers are able to understand the firm's business specificity. In this very process of externalizing knowledge and interacting with suppliers and other market players, the firm develops new rules, routines and procedures relating to how to manage the outsourced IT activity, which over time will be internalized. Originality/value – The paper is of value in linking outsourcing and organizational learning.

Journal

Strategic Outsourcing: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 20, 2009

Keywords: Outsourcing; Learning organizations

References