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Make, Buy or Ally? Theoretical Perspectives on Knowledge Process Outsourcing through Alliances

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  • Susan M. Mudambi
  • Stephen Tallman

Abstract

Outsourcing knowledge and innovation activities offer cost savings and superior performance, but can also put a firm's unique resources and capabilities at risk. Characterizations of outsourcing as a make-or-buy decision do not fit well with decisions on knowledge process outsourcing (KPO). KPO is a make-or-ally decision, as firms seek a governance structure that will both protect and leverage their strategic knowledge assets, with the final decision often coming down to a choice between different alliance forms. Our new conceptualization provides an integrated perspective on resource integration and transaction specificity in the knowledge governance decision. The model illustrates the dynamics and learning involved in knowledge outsourcing by identifying two distinct paths to KPO alliances. Copyright (c) 2010 The Authors. Journal of Management Studies (c) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan M. Mudambi & Stephen Tallman, 2010. "Make, Buy or Ally? Theoretical Perspectives on Knowledge Process Outsourcing through Alliances," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(s2), pages 1434-1456, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:s2:p:1434-1456
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