Explaining Variations in Client Extra Costs between Software Projects Offshored to India

Dibbern, Jens; Winkler, Jessica; Heinzl, Armin (2008). Explaining Variations in Client Extra Costs between Software Projects Offshored to India. MIS Quarterly, 32(2), pp. 333-366. Management Information Systems Research Center, University of Minnesota

[img] Text
dibbern_winkler_heinzl_2008_explaining variations in client extra costs.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only until 8 May 2019.
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (7MB) | Request a copy

Gaining economic benefits from substantially lower labor costs has been reported as a major reason for offshoring labor-intensive information systems services to low-wage countries. However, if wage differences are so high, why is there such a high level of variation in the economic success between offshored IS projects? This study argues that offshore outsourcing involves a number of extra costs for the ^his paper was recommended for acceptance by Associate Guest Editor Erran Carmel. client organization that account for the economic failure of offshore projects. The objective is to disaggregate these extra costs into their constituent parts and to explain why they differ between offshored software projects. The focus is on software development and maintenance projects that are offshored to Indian vendors. A theoretical framework is developed a priori based on transaction cost economics (TCE) and the knowledge-based view of the firm, comple mented by factors that acknowledge the specific offshore context The framework is empirically explored using a multiple case study design including six offshored software projects in a large German financial service institution. The results of our analysis indicate that the client incurs post contractual extra costs for four types of activities: (1) re quirements specification and design, (2) knowledge transfer, (3) control, and (4) coordination. In projects that require a high level of client-specific knowledge about idiosyncratic business processes and software systems, these extra costs were found to be substantially higher than in projects where more general knowledge was needed. Notably, these costs most often arose independently from the threat of oppor tunistic behavior, challenging the predominant TCE logic of market failure. Rather, the client extra costs were parti cularly high in client-specific projects because the effort for managing the consequences of the knowledge asymmetries between client and vendor was particularly high in these projects. Prior experiences of the vendor with related client projects were found to reduce the level of extra costs but could not fully offset the increase in extra costs in highly client-specific projects. Moreover, cultural and geographic distance between client and vendor as well as personnel turnover were found to increase client extra costs. Slight evidence was found, however, that the cost-increasing impact of these factors was also leveraged in projects with a high level of required client-specific knowledge (moderator effect).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Information Systems
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Information Systems > Information Engineering

UniBE Contributor:

Dibbern, Jens

Subjects:

000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations

ISSN:

0276-7783

Publisher:

Management Information Systems Research Center, University of Minnesota

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fabio Elia Isler

Date Deposited:

08 May 2014 18:32

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2017 18:44

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Offshoring, outsourcing, software application services, transaction cost economics, knowledge-based view, absorptive capacity, cross-cultural study, asset specificity, multiple case study

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.51792

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/51792

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback