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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|12060||2007||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 25, Issue 2, March 2007, Pages 464–481
Acknowledging efficiency motives, firms have increasingly turned to outsourcing in an effort to capture cost savings. Transaction cost theory (TCT) has been the dominant means of explaining outsourcing as an economizing approach whereby cost efficiencies are achieved by assigning transactions to different governance mechanisms. Recent research has used the resource-based view (RBV) to examine the role of specialized capabilities as a potential source of value creation in relationships between firms. Although research in supply chain management has expanded substantially, only limited applications of TCT and the RBV are available, especially in the field of operations management. We extend both perspectives to explain conditions leading to strategic outsourcing.
Understanding how firms establish firm scope has interested management scholars for some time, and a body of research has explored the boundary conditions firms consider when choosing to source activity from the marketplace (e.g. Fine and Whitney, 1999, Gilley and Rasheed, 2000 and Quinn, 1999). In particular, this research highlights the complex choices firms make when deciding whether to internalize or outsource production. On the one hand, internalization requires firms to commit resources to a course of action, which may limit strategic flexibility and be difficult to reverse (Leiblein et al., 2002). On the other hand, internalization may be required by firms to more effectively carry out production. The complexity of these boundary decisions has intensified in recent years stimulated by increased competitive pressures, the rapidity of technological change, and the dispersion of knowledge across different organizations and geographic markets (Hoetker, 2005 and Teece, 1992). Accordingly, a variety of outsourcing arrangements has emerged. We rely on both transaction-based and resource-based logics to explain the emergence of one such arrangement strategic outsourcing in which firms rely on intermediate markets to provide specialized capabilities that supplement existing capabilities used in production. What determines firm scope? A well-developed approach for boundary decisions associated with firm scope is transaction cost theory (TCT). According to this perspective, firms integrate production to minimize costs from opportunism and bounded rationality of firms and their suppliers, the uncertainty and frequency of market exchange, and asset specificity that arises from supplier-firm or firm-customer relationships (Coase, 1937 and Williamson, 1985). This theory holds that certain types of governance mechanisms manage exchanges with particular characteristics more efficiently than others; cost economizing therefore reflects a firm's efforts to minimize costs arising from the governance of market exchanges.2 Accordingly, the decision to outsource often rests on economizing motives related to the fit between firms’ governance choices and specific attributes about an economic exchange (Grover and Malhotra, 2003 and Silverman et al., 1997). Recently, however, scholars have presented resource-based perspectives of integration that augment transaction-based views and sharpen the focus on firms’ relative advantages (Combs and Ketchen, 1999, Leiblein and Miller, 2003 and Poppo and Zenger, 1998). This growing body of work, which is based on the original work of Penrose (1959) and uses Barney's (1991) more recent translation of the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm, emphasizes the importance of resources in guiding firm activity and the management of a firm's portfolio of capabilities as central to competitive advantage.3 More specifically, this research contends that the reasons for internalization extend beyond the cost of transacting through the market to the conditions that enable firms to establish, maintain, and use capabilities more efficiently than markets can do (Conner, 1991, Ghoshal and Moran, 1996 and Teece et al., 1997). The resulting convergence between these two theories has stimulated a number of empirical studies, which has created a more effective understanding of what drives strategic outsourcing. For example, in recent years, transaction cost scholars have accepted that transaction-based and resource-based perspectives “deal with partly overlapping phenomena, often in complementary ways” and that capability endowments matter to boundary decisions (Williamson, 1999, p. 1098). Combs and Ketchen (1999) found evidence that firms often place resource-based concerns ahead of exchange economies when deciding on potential interfirm cooperation. Complementary to this view, Madhok (2002) pursued the question of how firms should organize production given certain resource-based conditions (e.g. pre-existing strengths and weaknesses). He suggested that boundary decisions depend not only on the conditions surrounding the transaction, but also on capability attributes, and the governance context that it creates. Thus, substantial empirical support exists for the proposition that capability considerations trade-off with economizing constraints in the decision to outsource (e.g. Hoetker, 2005, Jacobides and Winter, 2005 and Poppo and Zenger, 1998). Our work contributes to this stream by extending earlier conceptualizations of outsourcing based on economizing conditions, such as asset specificity, small numbers bargaining, and technological uncertainty, to include factors that influence the selection and integration of capabilities from intermediate markets (Argyres and Liebeskind, 1999 and Jacobides and Winter, 2005). In particular, we consider the complementarity of capabilities, strategic relatedness, relational capability-building mechanisms, and cooperative experience as four important conditions that establish a resource-based context for strategic outsourcing. According to this perspective, in the decision regarding the strategic outsourcing of production, firms evaluate internally accessed capabilities and those capabilities available externally from intermediate markets, and consider how they might best be integrated to produce the greatest value. Therefore, this work goes beyond the question of governance mechanisms to enrich our understanding of capability selection and use, providing a more meaningful understanding of strategic outsourcing. Whereas transaction-based perspectives typically confine outsourcing to more specialized, repetitive activities such as manufacturing, logistics, and facilities management, resource-based theory provides a context to explain strategic outsourcing arrangements for more visible and potentially sensitive functions such as research and development (R&D), engineering design, and customer support. This trend is evident in the personal computer (PC) and communications equipment sectors, where growing demand for new product offerings has driven the market for third-party R&D and design. As a result, the volume of outsourced R&D, design, and manufacturing services in these two sectors is expected to grow almost two-fold between 2004 and 2009, from $179 billion to $345.5 billion (Carbone, 2005). Despite the dramatic increase in strategic outsourcing in recent years, few systematic studies of strategic outsourcing have been completed (Gilley and Rasheed, 2000). In fact, this topic has received only limited exposure in the fields of healthcare management (e.g. Billi et al., 2004 and Roberts, 2001), economics (e.g. Chen et al., 2004a and Shy and Stenbacka, 2003), and strategic management (e.g. Fine and Whitney, 1999, Quinn, 1999 and Quinn and Hilmer, 1994). Accordingly, this work represents an early attempt to frame and provide a theoretical understanding to the strategic outsourcing concept in operations and supply chain management research using both transaction-based and resource-based logics. This work follows Grover and Malhotra's (2003) call for more research by operations management scholars that integrate strategic management and organizational theory into the study of interfirm relationships. In particular, our work contributes to the stream of research synthesizing TCT and the RBV by integrating them to extend earlier conceptualizations of outsourcing. We also make three important contributions to the outsourcing literature. First, we offer a more concise definition of strategic outsourcing that extends transaction-based logics and considers value created when firms more effectively leverage the specialized capabilities these relationships provide. Second, we explain how developing a ‘capabilities view’ better informs the discourse about the outsourcing choices that firms make. Prior work has established a relationship between outsourcing and cost economies from the selection of more efficient governance mechanisms (e.g. Cachon and Harker, 2002 and Walker and Weber, 1984). However, to date, there has been little understanding provided of the role that internal and external capabilities play in strategic outsourcing decisions. Herein, we shift the focus on value creation from different exchange conditions to value chain structures and to the process by which firms produce goods and services. Thus, we provide managers with a richer framework to understand the trade-offs between internalization, past relationships and experience, and capabilities that guide their decision to internalize or outsource. Third, we highlight the expanded role that boundaries serve in the formation of strategic outsourcing relationships. Establishing firm boundaries requires understanding more than how internally- and externally-sourced production activities affect performance (Araujo et al., 2003). It also requires a better understanding of the bridging function that boundaries perform in linking firms’ production activity with intermediate markets (McEvily and Zaheer, 1999). Accordingly, we argue that a more complete understanding of the organization of economic activity requires a greater sensitivity to the interdependence of capabilities, production activity, and interfirm relations that emerge from boundary decisions, as suggested by Coase (1988). Fig. 1 summarizes our model for strategic outsourcing. This model depicts conditions for value creation integrated with economizing arguments for strategic outsourcing. These theoretical arguments are examined in the following sections. We begin with a concise review of the literature and derive a more complete definition of strategic outsourcing. Next, transaction-based and resource-based arguments for outsourcing are reviewed. Building on these two perspectives, we present a model of strategic outsourcing that uses transaction- and capability-based factors to examine a firm's decision to outsource. Finally, we discuss opportunities for future research.