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A process model of outsourced information systems development projects

Gregory Vial
HEC Montréal, Canada
Suzanne Rivard
HEC Montréal, Canada

In order to cut costs and gain access to specialized technical expertise, organizations often outsource some of their information systems development projects. While the globalization of exchanges has helped facilitate the adoption of this practice, research on this topic has identified a number of potential hinderers that can threaten their success and applied a variety of theoretical lenses to their study. Within this context, we propose a theoretically grounded process model to explain events occurring during the course of outsourced information systems development projects. To do so, we follow an inductive approach that integrates a variety of theoretical lenses and rely on different sources to provide examples of our arguments in the form of illustrative vignettes. We rely on institutional theory to characterize the systems development and project management practices in place at the client and provider and argue that these practices either focus primarily on the control or coordination mechanisms in place for the project, thereby defining different forms of contracts between parties. We then study the conflicts that may occur between these practices before and during the project and posit that there are processes that can be used to try and resolve them. Finally, we identify the impact these processes can have on the project both in terms of process and potential outcome, thereby influencing the contracts in place between parties in the form of a feedback effect that effectively demonstrates the dynamic nature of outsourced information systems development projects.

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Reference:Vial, G., Rivard, S. (2012). "A process model of outsourced information systems development projects," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 12(19). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/12-19
Keywords:institutional theory, process approach, outsourcing, outsourced information systems development, implied contract, psychological contract, trust
Item Type:Article - Volume 12 Article 19 (2012)
Email: Gregory Vial (gregory.vial@hec.ca)
Suzanne Rivard (suzanne.rivard@hec.ca)

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