Sourcing information technology services: Past research and future research directions

Mary LACITY, Aihua YAN, Shaji KHAN

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter is both a celebration of existing research and a call to inspire even more influential work on sourcing of information technology services. We review scholarly research and propose future research directions. The review is based on our coding of 1,170 empirical relationships found in 257 journal articles published between 1992 and 2014. We found that scholars have primarily studied two types of dependent variables associated with sourcing: IT sourcing decisions and IT sourcing outcomes. Based on the strongest evidence from our codes, we developed a model of the determinants of information technology outsourcing (ITO) decisions and a model of the determinants of ITO outcomes. The model of ITO decisions includes 21 independent variables associated with transaction attributes, outsourcing motivations, influence sources, client characteristics and capabilities, relationship characteristics, and environmental variables. The model of ITO outcomes includes 31 independent variables associated with transaction attributes, relational and contractual governance, client and provider capabilities, client characteristics, and decision characteristics. Together, these models succinctly capture a vast amount of empirical work to primarily aid client and provider organizations. Beyond helping these constituents, we examine what sourcing studies might be truly impactful. As scholars, we can help to answer societal questions about the role of IT sourcing in alleviating poverty, sustaining the environment, mitigating cyber threats, and helping workers adjust to the coming wave of automation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Management Information Systems
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781315619361
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Robert D. Galliers and Mari-Klara Stein; individual chapters, the contributors.


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