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A comparative Test of the Efficiency, focus and Learning Perspectives of Outsourcing


  • Frédéric, DALSACE


  • Nicola C., DRAGONETTI

    () (INSEAD)

  • Karel, COOL

    () (INSEAD)


Despite the fact that vertical integration has been a key question of management studies for more than fifty years, we still do not have a unified, coherent view of outsourcing. In particular, multiple theoretical perspectives such as transaction cost economics, industrial organization, and strategy, could explain the outsourcing decision, but the implications of these different streams have neither been theoretically integrated, nor tested simultaneously. In an attempt to disentangle the various causes of outsourcing, we suggest three different rationales for outsourcing: cost reduction, focusing on core capabilities and importing knowledge into the firm. We develop several hypotheses, which we then test on secondary data on French small- and medium-sized enterprises. Results indicate that the learning rationale appears to be the strongest factor influencing the outsourcing decision. Some performance implications of this rationale are also suggested and tested.

Suggested Citation

  • Frédéric, DALSACE & Nicola C., DRAGONETTI & Karel, COOL, 2003. "A comparative Test of the Efficiency, focus and Learning Perspectives of Outsourcing," Les Cahiers de Recherche 776, HEC Paris.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0776

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Goldberger, Arthur S., 1981. "Linear regression after selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 357-366, April.
    2. Perry, Martin K., 1989. "Vertical integration: Determinants and effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 183-255 Elsevier.
    3. Krogh, Georg Von & Roos, Johan, 1994. "Corporate divestiture and the phantom limb effect," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-178, June.
    4. Langlois, Richard N & Foss, Nicolai J, 1999. "Capabilities and Governance: The Rebirth of Production in the Theory of Economic Organization," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 201-218.
    5. Nicolai Foss, 1999. "Research in the Strategic Theory of the Firm: 'Isolationism' and 'Integrationism'," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(6), pages 725-755, November.
    6. Ingemar Dierickx & Karel Cool, 1989. "Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(12), pages 1504-1511, December.
    7. Chung, Ching-Fan & Goldberger, Arthur S, 1984. "Proportional Projections in Limited Dependent Variable Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 531-534, March.
    8. Greene, William H, 1981. "On the Asymptotic Bias of the Ordinary Least Squares Estimator of the Tobit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 505-513, March.
    9. Levy, David, 1984. "Testing Stigler's Interpretation of "The Division of Labor Is Limited by the Extent of the Market."," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 377-389, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frédéric, DALSACE & Erin, ANDERSON & William T., ROSS, Jr., 2003. "Path Dependence in Personal Selling : A Meso-Analysis of Vertical Integration," Les Cahiers de Recherche 787, HEC Paris.

    More about this item


    outsourcing; transaction cost economics; resource-based view; knowledge-based view;

    JEL classification:

    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management

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