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Learning Paths to Offshore Outsourcing: From Cost Reduction to Knowledge Seeking


  • Peter Maskell
  • Torben Pedersen
  • Bent Petersen
  • Jens Dick-Nielsen


A corporation's offshore outsourcing may be seen as the result of a discrete, strategic decision taken in response to an increasing pressure from worldwide competition. However, empirical evidence of a representative cross-sector sample of international Danish firms indicates that offshore sourcing in low-cost countries is best described as a learning-by-doing process in which the offshore outsourcing of a corporation goes through a sequence of stages towards sourcing for innovation. Initially, a corporation's outsourcing is driven by a desire for cost minimization. Over a period of time the outsourcing experience lessens the cognitive limitations of decision-makers as to the advantages that can be achieved through outsourcing in low-cost countries: the insourcer/vendor may not only offer cost advantages, but also quality improvement and innovation. The quality improvements that offshore outsourcing may bring about evoke a realization in the corporation that even innovative processes can be outsourced.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Maskell & Torben Pedersen & Bent Petersen & Jens Dick-Nielsen, 2007. "Learning Paths to Offshore Outsourcing: From Cost Reduction to Knowledge Seeking," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 239-257.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:14:y:2007:i:3:p:239-257 DOI: 10.1080/13662710701369189

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cavusgil, S. Tamer, 1984. "Differences among exporting firms based on their degree of internationalization," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 195-208, June.
    2. Otto Andersen, 1993. "On the Internationalization Process of Firms: A Critical Analysis," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 24(2), pages 209-231, June.
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    7. Graf, Michael & Mudambi, Susan M., 2005. "The outsourcing of IT-enabled business processes: A conceptual model of the location decision," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 253-268, June.
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    More about this item


    Offshore outsourcing; cost reduction; innovation; experiential learning; low-cost countries;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices


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