“Dominant Archetypes of IT Outsourcing Strategy: Optimal Configurations of Outsourcing Governance Elements” by Professor Jae-Nam Lee
Professor Jae-Nam Lee
Professor of MIS
Korea University Business School
A wide range of outsourcing strategies has emerged as a major alternative to in‐house IT management, but the practitioner guidelines and advice from theory for successful outsourcing are fragmented and inconsistent. To overcome this problem, we conducted a literature review and extracted from extant outsourcing theories four major outsourcing governance elements – (1) degree of outsourcing, (2) relationship type, (3) period of outsourcing, and (4) number of vendors. Then, from the three well‐established outsourcing theoretical perspectives, we develop three archetypes of outsourcing strategy in the form of configurations of these elements. To validate the proposed archetypes, we conducted a field study accompanied by a set‐theoretic qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). The study was based on 235 companies that outsource major IT functions. The results show that two archetypes representing the economic perspective and the social perspective consistently produce outsourcing success but an archetype representing the resource perspective does not. In addition to these archetypes, the results reveal two emergent hybrid archetypes that effectively produce outsourcing success.