دیدگاه قدرت و وابستگی درباره تصمیمات برون سپاری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|593||2009||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : European Management Journal, Volume 27, Issue 6, December 2009, Pages 402–417
Since the 1980s outsourcing has been a major topic in both economic and management literature. Economic literature tends to focus on the transaction cost perspective. In management literature the core competence approach prevails. An emerging alternative view on outsourcing is the power and dependence perspective. Aspects of power and dependence become visible in four case studies involving the maintenance of capital assets. In each instance both the buyer and supplier sides of the dyad are examined. The paper concludes with managerial implications and research opportunities.
Outsourcing has been widely practiced and studied since the 1980s (e.g. Ford et al., 1993, Barthélemy, 2003 and Hussey and Jenster, 2003). Initially the emphasis was on outsourcing support and specialist activities in organizations, such as accounting, human resources, facilities and real estate management. In the 1990s a tendency towards the outsourcing of functions closer to the core of the organizations became apparent, including customer support and call centre functions, manufacturing and engineering (Ford et al., 1993). Literature on make-or-buy decisions focuses mainly on the factors that influence the outcome of the make-or-buy decisions. The management literature on outsourcing is centred on the need for the firm to maximize return on investments by focusing on its “core competences” (Jenster and Pedersen, 2000). In contrast, the most common perspective in the economic literature concentrates on transaction cost economics and the implications of asset specificity for the outsourcing decision (Williamson, 1985). The outsourcing of activities that use assets or need investments being specific to the transaction might cause a firm to become locked-in to its supplier. If the firm tried to switch to another supplier, it would have to write off those asset specific investments. This lock-in situation for the outsourcing firm, i.e. the firm that is outsourcing activities to other firms, can lead to opportunistic behaviour by the supplier, exploiting his dominant position to renegotiate the terms of the contract, or insisting on different terms next time around (Lonsdale, 2001). Williamson (1985) argues that buyers and suppliers can and should use farsighted contracting to avoid such unbalanced asset specific investments. Hence, according to Williamson the concepts of power and dependence do not have anything to offer to analyse these situations. In contrast, Lonsdale (2001) shows that such farsighted contracting does not always take place and it does not take much for buyers to end up in a post-contractual dependence position in which they are locked-in and dominated by their suppliers. Lonsdale argued in this respect that “it is this risk of outsourcing, rather than that of outsourcing core competencies, that appears to be at the root of a majority of the problems firms have experienced” (2001, p. 22). In this view, the concepts of power and dependence are crucial in the analysis of outsourcing dynamics. In this paper we endorse Lonsdale’s view and present new case evidence showing that, in addition to asset specificity, power and dependence constructs strongly influence the outsourcing decision-making process. We claim that the economic logic of the transaction cost economics explanation of buyer-supplier relations needs to be complemented by a more sociological perspective which focuses on aspects of power and dependence. Thereby we attend to a weakness of the transaction cost economics view which, despite accepting the possibility of opportunism, still assumes that firms should try to pursue joint maximising outcomes in preference to trying to achieve and retain power over one another. Our aim in this study is to analyze the outsourcing decision and the outsourcing relationship with respect to issues about power and dependence. Particularly, we try to identify and describe the key variables that are considered to be important in the outsourcing relationship, and reveal why these variables are of the essence. While a substantial body of literature has examined power and dependence in supplier-buyer relationships at the firm level (for an overview see Butler and Sohod, 1995 and Gelderman, 2003), much less empirical studies on outsourcing have been carried out at the dyadic level (Jané et al., 2005 and Zhao, 2007) and still fewer studies adopt a network level of analysis (Jané et al., 2005 and Zhao, 2007). Our paper can be categorised as an empirical dyadic study. The specific novel contribution of this paper is the addition of new case material with a focus on the sociological perspective in outsourcing relations. By an examination of four cases, selected for the outsourcing of activities close to the core of the organization, we show how power and dependence constructs can be used to explain and better understand outsourcing decisions. Based on this exploratory work, we offer several research propositions for subsequent investigation.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The extensive strategic management literature about outsourcing suggests that the dominant reason for outsourcing has changed over time from cost considerations to a strategic choice about the firm’s core activities. Whereas the literature about buyer-supplier relationships puts much emphasis on power and dependence issues, the outsourcing literature (see for example Gilley and Rasheed, 2000, Harland et al., 2005 and Hussey and Jenster, 2003) seems to have forgotten the crucial influence on the outsourcing decision of a more sociological perspective which focuses on aspects of power and dependence between the parties involved (Lonsdale, 2001 and Buvik and Gronhaug, 2000). The scientific contribution of our study lies in the illustration of the idea that the outsourcing decision and the design and development of the outsourcing relationship appears to be influenced to a large extend by power and dependence considerations, probably in addition to cost reduction motives. Furthermore, our study supports Lonsdale’s (2001) argument that relationship specific assets (particularly technical knowledge) are seen by buyers as a potential source of dependence on a supplier and therefore a reason not to outsource. The most important managerial implication of this research concerns the significance for managers to systematically map sources of buyer’s and (potential) supplier’s dependence in an early stage of the outsourcing decision process. This exercise could serve as a major consideration in the make-or-buy decision complementary to core competence considerations. A mapping of the relative power and dependence positions can also provide a basis for the design of rules and processes by which the outsource relationship is operated, regulated, and controlled in the case that a firm does decide to outsource. Hence, power and dependence mapping is useful before outsourcing contracts are entered, as well as in the subsequent stages of the relationship.