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Co-evolution of global sourcing: The need to understand the underlying mechanisms of firm-decisions to offshore

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  • Lewin, Arie Y.
  • Volberda, Henk W.

Abstract

In this introductory paper, we first discuss the emergence of global sourcing of business services and how these have been largely ignored in the IB field. Offshoring of business services has reached substantial proportions. Despite the radical growth, IB research on global sourcing is still in its infancy. Offshoring of business services represents a new type of internationalization. The offshoring of high-value services confronts companies with many of the challenges that are typical of an internationalization process in which well-known models and concepts of internationalization are applicable but also leave important unanswered questions requiring reconsideration and revision of these theoretical positions. Offshoring of business services is fundamentally different from outsourcing offshore of manufacturing activities. Using data from the Offshore Research Network (ORN), we track patterns of the emergence and diffusion of global sourcing of business services. On the basis of these new insights, we make a plea for a more encompassing, co-evolutionary perspective of global sourcing stressing the interactions between managerial intentionality, path-dependent experience and knowledge accumulation, as well as the institutional and selection forces. In particular, we develop a co-evolutionary offshore decision model integrating managerial intentionality, knowledge/experience and institutional and selection forces that explain the heterogeneous outcomes of offshoring. Although emergent outcomes of co-evolutionary dynamics are highly idiosyncratic, we identify in this paper some underlying mechanism that drive specific global sourcing patterns. Finally, we position the papers of this special issue in this co-evolutionary model.

Suggested Citation

  • Lewin, Arie Y. & Volberda, Henk W., 2011. "Co-evolution of global sourcing: The need to understand the underlying mechanisms of firm-decisions to offshore," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 241-251, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:20:y:2011:i:3:p:241-251
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Niccolò Pisani & Joan Enric Ricart, 2016. "Offshoring of Services: A Review of the Literature and Organizing Framework," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 385-424, June.
    2. Abatecola, Gianpaolo, 2014. "Research in organizational evolution. What comes next?," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 434-443.
    3. Yi-Ju Lo & Tung Hung, 2015. "Structure offshoring and returns on offshoring," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, pages 443-479.
    4. repec:eee:iburev:v:26:y:2017:i:3:p:435-447 is not listed on IDEAS
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    6. Karjalainen, Katri & Salmi, Asta, 2013. "Continental differences in purchasing strategies and tools," International Business Review, Elsevier, pages 112-125.
    7. repec:spr:manint:v:57:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11575-017-0326-y is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Roberto Cafferata, 2016. "Darwinist connections between the systemness of social organizations and their evolution," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(1), pages 19-44, March.
    9. Lydia Bals & Jon F. Kirchoff & Kai Foerstl, 2016. "Exploring the reshoring and insourcing decision making process: toward an agenda for future research," Operations Management Research, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 102-116, December.
    10. Gianpaolo Abatecola & Fiorenza Belussi & Dermot Breslin & Igor Filatotchev, 2016. "Darwinism, organizational evolution and survival: key challenges for future research," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(1), pages 1-17, March.
    11. Dermot Breslin, 2016. "What evolves in organizational co-evolution?," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(1), pages 45-67, March.
    12. Caniato, Federico & Elia, Stefano & Luzzini, Davide & Piscitello, Lucia & Ronchi, Stefano, 2015. "Location drivers, governance model and performance in service offshoring," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 189-199.
    13. Gerbl, Martina & McIvor, Ronan & Loane, Sharon & Humphreys, Paul, 2015. "A multi-theory approach to understanding the business process outsourcing decision," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 505-518.
    14. Schmeisser, Bjoern, 2013. "A Systematic Review of Literature on Offshoring of Value Chain Activities," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 390-406.
    15. Jia, Fu & Lamming, Richard & Sartor, Marco & Orzes, Guido & Nassimbeni, Guido, 2014. "International purchasing offices in China: A dynamic evolution model," International Business Review, Elsevier, pages 580-593.

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