A Conceptual Framework for Studying the Successful Outcome of the IS Outsourcing Process from a Relationship Perspective
Abstract: This thesis has its point of departure in the identified knowledge gap, which includes the importance of the information systems (IS) outsourcing relationship for studying the success of IS outsourcing. This research study, therefore, is structured with the belief that the disregard of the client-IS supplier relationship when studying IS outsourcing is paradoxical. Paradoxical since the impact of the relationship on the overall IS outsourcing can make the difference between success, less success and even failure. In contrast to the majority of prior research, which has focused IS outsourcing in its entirety, this research study percieves IS outsourcing as a process. Because prior research shows that the success or failure of IS outsourcing is connected to its implementation, this thesis focuses the post-contract stage of the IS outsourcing.The purpose chosen and addressed is to develop a conceptual framework for describing and explaining the degree of successful outcome of the IS outsourcing process using a relationship perspective. To approach this purpose, a literature review study is conducted. The literature review study includes the integration of three theoretical fields: IS, interorganisational business relationships and IS outsourcing. The knowledge domains of particular interest are 'strategies, approaches and frameworks for the IS life cycle', 'the interaction approach' and 'IS outsourcing success'.The purpose is focused through the identification of key conditions, dimensions and interrelations among dimensions. These identified elements, constituting the core elements of the conceptual framework, are a result of the conducted literature review study. The key conditions are identified according to their influence on the degree of successful outcome of the IS outsourcing process from a relationship perspective. Due to the large amount of key conditions identified, they are categorised into nine dimensions: Atmosphere, Behaviour, Contract, Environment, Interatction, IS, Management, Organisation and Outcome. The identified interrelations among these dimensions are fruitful since they provide insights and a favourable point of departure for studying the degree of successful outcome of IS outsourcing processes.The main contribution of this thesis is the conceptual framework for the IS outsourcing process. The key conditions, dimensions and interrelations constitute the conceptual framework as a result of their potential for describing and explaining the degree of successful outcome of the IS outsourcing process from a relationship perspective. The application of the conceptual framework provides managers with core elements to be considered during IS outsourcing decision-making and subsequent design of IS outsourcing. Its usage, moreover, is believed to support managers during the operationalisation of the post-contract stage of IS outsourcing processes. Finally, the conceptual framework is a fruitful 'tool' for future empirical research. Fruitful in the sense that it can provide useful and important insights into how different key conditions infuence the degree of successful outcome of IS outsourcing processes and how these key conditions are interrelated.
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