Advertisement

From Senses to Sensors

Strategies for Maintaining and Enhancing Competence in a Virtual Organization
  • Ulrika H. Westergren
Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 236)

Abstract

One key dimension of the virtualization of the workplace is the formation of new types of partnerships where organizations let internal functions be handled by an external partner, the so-called outsourcing of services. The formation of an outsourcing partnership imposes the risk of knowledge-drainage on the client organization as specific internal competence decreases when the service provider takes over the technological knowledge and has a significant impact on the business processes in general. The aim of this paper is to address the issue of partnership outsourcing and to explore strategies that are used to keep the competence within the client organization even as it opens itself up to the partnership. Based on the framework of Four Outsourcing Relationship Types provided by Kishore et al. [1], this paper investigates the relationship between a large minerals group, Alpha Corp. and its remote service provider, RDC. Alpha has three different strategies for maintaining competence within the organization while engaging in the outsourcing relationship. The first is exploiting the full potential of its partnership with RDC, the second is heavy investment in information technology, and the third is structured and systematic maintenance. The findings of the study show that the relationship between Alpha and RDC can be characterized as an alliance type relationship and that the only way for Alpha to preserve competence is to maintain an inspired and engaged workforce and fully embrace the partnership in order to create a win-win situation.

Keywords

Service Provider Preventive Maintenance Remote Monitoring Virtual Organization Organizational Transformation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    R. Kishore, H.R. Rao, K. Nam, S. Rajagopalan, and A. Chaudhury, A Relationship Perspective on IT Outsourcing, Communications of the ACM 46(12), 87–92 (2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    S. Zuboff, The Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power (Basic Books, New York, 1988).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    W.H. Davidow and M.S. Malone, The Virtual Corporation (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1992).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    N. Venkatraman and J.C. Henderson, Real Strategies for Virtual Organizing, Sloan Management Review 33–48 (Fall 1998).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    U. Schultze and W.J. Orlikowski, Metaphors of Virtuality: Shaping an Emergent Reality, Information and Organization 11(1), 45–77 (January 2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    M.J. Gallivan, Striking a Balance Between Trust and Control in a Virtual Organization: A Content Analysis of Open Source Software Case Studies, Information Systems Journal 11, 277–304(2001).MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    W.L. Currie and L.P. Willcocks, Analyzing Four Types of IT Sourcing Decisions in the Context of Scale, Client/Supplier, Interdependency and Risk Mitigation, Information Systems Journal 8(2), 119–143 (1998).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    L. Hibbert, Here, There, Everywhere, Professional Engineering 13(16), 40 (2000).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    T. Han and B-S Yang, Development of an e-Maintenance System Integrating Advanced Techniques, Computers in Industry 57(6), 569–580 (2006).CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    J. Lee, J. Ni, D. Djurdjanovic, H. Qiu, and H. Liao, Intelligent Prognostics Tools and e-Maintenance, Computers in Industry 57(6), 476–489 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    A. Yakhlef, Understanding IT Outsourcing (Academia Adacta, Lund, 1997).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. Kling and J.P. Allen, in: Computerization and Controversy, edited by R. Kling (Academic Press, San Diego, 1996) pp. 261–276.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    W.J. Orlikowski and S.R. Barley, Technology and Institutions: What Can Research on Information Technology and Research on Organizations Learn from Each Other? MIS Quarterly 25(2), 145–165 (2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    M.B. Fritz, S. Narashimhan and H. Rhee, Communication and Coordination in the Virtual Office, Journal of Management Information Systems 14, 7–28 (1998).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    S. Jarvenpaa, K. Knoll, and D. Leidner, Is Anybody Out There? Antecedents of Trust in Global Virtual Teams, Journal of Management Information Systems 14, 29–64 (1998).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    K.M. Chudoba, E. Wynn, M. Lu, and M.B. Watson-Manheim, How Virtual Are We? Measuring Virtuality and Understanding Its Impact in a Global Organization, Information Systems Journal 15, 279–306 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    J-N Lee and Y-G Kim, Effect of Partnership Quality on IS Outsourcing Success: Conceptual Framework and Empirical Validation, Journal of Management Information Systems 15(4), 29–61 (1999).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    J-N Lee, M.Q. Huynh, R. C-W Kwok and S-M Pi, IT Outsourcing Evolution — Past Present and Future. Communications of the ACM 46(5), 85–89 (2003).MATHGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    M.C. Lacity, L.P. Willcocks and D.F. Feeny, IT Outsourcing: Maximize Flexibility and Control, Harvard Business Review 84–93 (May–June 1995).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    C. Prahalad and G. Hamel, The Core Competence of the Corporation, Harvard Business Review 79–91 (May–June 1990).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    J.B. Quinn and F.G. Hilmer, Strategic Outsourcing, Sloan Management Review 43–55 (Summer 1994).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    V. Michell and G. Fitzgerald, The IT Outsourcing Market-place: Vendors and Their Selection, Journal of Information Technology 12, 223–237 (1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    R. Srinivasan and T.H. Brush, Supplier Performance in Vertical Alliances: The Effects of Self-enforcing Agreements and Enforceable Contracts, Organization Science 17(4), 436–452 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    S. Slaughter and S. Ang, Employment Outsourcing in Information Systems, Communications of the ACM 39(7), 47–54 (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    J.H. Dyer and N.W Hatch, Relation-specific Capabilities and Barriers to Knowledge Transfers: Creating Advantage Through Network Relationships, Strategic Management Journal 27, 701–719 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    G. Walsham, Interpreting Information Systems in Organizations (Wiley, Chichester, 1993).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    H.K. Klein and M.D. Myers, A Set of Principles for Conducting and Evaluating Interpretive Field Studies in Information Systems, MS Quarterly 23, 67–93 (1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    R.K. Yin, Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Sage, Newbury Park, 1989).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    J. Peppard, Bridging the Gap Between the IS Organization and the Rest of the Business: Plotting a route, Information Systems Journal 11(3), 249–270 (2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    M.B. Miles and A.M. Huberman, Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook (Sage, London, 1994).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrika H. Westergren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

Personalised recommendations