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Enterprise Systems Outsourcing “Behind the Curtain”: A case study showing how rational and institutional explanations co-exist and complement each other

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  • Per Svejvig
  • Jan Pries-Heje, Roskilde University, Denmark
Outsourcing is now a feasible means for enterprise systems (ES) cost savings, but does however increase the complexity of coordination substantially when many organizations are involved. We set out to study ES outsourcing in a large Scandinavian high-tech organization, SCANDI, a case setting with many interorganizational partners, trying to answer the question: Why does SCANDI engage in these very complex outsourcing arrangements? To answer this question we have analyzed documents, observed meetings and
gathered data from interviews in four parts of SCANDI. The first data analysis found just the rational front stage cost-saving explanation; but then, with a more careful analysis focusing on institutional factors, other backstage explanations “behind the curtain” were uncovered, such as management consultants with a “best practice” agenda, people promoting outsourcing, thereby being promoted themselves, and a belief in outsourcing as a “silver bullet”: a recipe to success, solving everything.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Enterprise Information Systems
Volume7
Issue1
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
ISSN1548-1115
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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