Abstracts of published papers and work in progress are included below.

IS OFFSHORING: A PROPOSED MATURITY MODEL OF OFFSHORE IS SUPPLIERS (ECIS 2007)

Abstract

Companies in developed economies are now accustomed to use offshore IS services to develop and maintain software, and an increasing number of specialist offshore services firms exists to meet the demand. These include systems integrators whose origins are in developed economies, and ‘pure play’ offshore IS providers that originate in countries where the cost of IS labour is relatively low. Both type of offshore organisation have changed considerably in recent years in response to market demand and competitive pressure. Although researchers have developed maturity models for users of IS offshoring, there is little that describes the nature and behaviour of offshore IS providers. Accordingly, this paper proposes a maturity model for offshore IS suppliers that is analogous to various consumer-oriented maturity models found in the literature and in trade journals. This preliminary framework is developed by reference to literature on outsourcing, offshoring and IS maturity models, and by recent relevant experience of practitioner organisations. The conclusions from this study can be used to guide further research, and to develop constructs helpful to practitioners. The research helps suppliers of offshore IS services to understand the particular conditions in which it is appropriate to consider new business models. For consumers of offshore outsourcing, it provides a framework for categorising suppliers of IS services.

OFFSHORE IS ORGANISATIONS AS MNES: THE RELEVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS THEORY TO OFFSHORING MULTINATIONALS (UKAIS 2007)

Abstract

The rapid development of the IS offshore industry has resulted in the creation of new forms of multinational enterprises (MNEs). These have emerged and matured over the past decade, and are relatively under-researched. In contrast, globalisation and international business have long been the focus of research, although there is little research on MNEs in the IS offshore industry. This paper assesses how elements of existing MNE theory fit offshore IS multinationals. It takes three constructs associated with the MNE theory – internalisation, differentiated networks and knowledge transfer - and applies these to the IS offshore industry. The rationale for this analysis is that understanding differences between ‘traditional’ and offshore MNEs will provide insight on strategy, management, structure and operation of these new organisations. The research concludes that offshore MNEs differ in some ways from more widely studied multinationals. Thus, while some aspects of MNE theory fit the new IS offshore MNEs well, others do not. Further research in this area could provide greater insight on emerging forms of organisation in this relatively new industry, and on their behaviour, operation and performance.

ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF IS OFFSHORING (ECIS 2008)

Abstract

This paper defines an analytic framework with which to research the impact of IS offshoring on its various stakeholders and applies this to two significant case studies of offshoring in the financial services industry. It presents conclusions on one particular segment of the research programme, namely the extent to which IS offshoring drives cultural change for IS practitioners in offshore locations. It concludes that the resultant impact is notable, but not different in any significant way to that experienced by any IS practitioner who works overseas. Further, the cultural differences between onshore and offshore practitioners tend to diminish quickly as they adapt to new cultural environments.

THE MODERN HETERARCHY (ECIS 2009)

Abstract

This paper describes how IS offshoring organisations are changing in response to increased globalisation of the practice of software development. It posits the emergence of a new form of multi-national enterprise (MNE), described in this paper as a ‘modern heterarchy’, from the construct of the heterarchy originally developed by Gunnar Hedlund in 1986. The paper draws on theoretical antecedents in the discipline of international business studies, and is supported by empirical data gathered from two extended case studies of offshore IS projects. The research uses grounded theory techniques for the collection and analysis of data, and has particular value for IS practitioners in offshore IS MNEs.

THE MULTISHORE ENTERPRISE (ECIS 2011 - not yet published)

Abstract

This paper develops an explanatory theory relating to the emergence of new forms of multi-national enterprises (MNEs) in the IS Offshoring industry. Extending a construct developed in the field of international business, it concludes that such new organisations can be viewed as modern heterarchies (Hedlund, 1986). Empirical data is derived from two projects from the financial services industry in the UK. The research is interpretive and uses grounded theory techniques to analyse the data and develop theory. The implication of the modern heterarchy for global IS MNEs is both strategic (leading to convergence of onshore and offshore attributes) and operational (demanding truly distributed skills, tools and methods).