© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Outsourcing research has recognised that selecting the right offshore supplier (outsourcee) in low-cost distant developing countries is complex, but central to outsourcing success. More specifically, the combination of outsourcee contextual internal factors (e.g. capabilities) with outsourced-to country contextual external factors (e.g. political, legal, economic, socio-cultural) as two fundamental and interconnected decisions firms make when outsourcing remains an underexplored research gap. Therefore, through a rigorous three-tier qualitative approach we, firstly, develop a contextual Environmental Separation Index (ESI) decision tool to help outsourcing firms in making more informed decisions when selecting outsourcees and outsourcing locations. Secondly, we operationalise the ESI as intuitive and easy to use decision tool, yet with a provision to deliver a truly context proof outsourcee selection decision. Thirdly, we adopt a complexity theory lens to explain that narrowing the contextual outsourcer–outsourcee gap facilitates a mind-set shift in outsourcing relationships from hierarchies to networks and from controlling to empowering developing country outsourcees. We show from a complexity theory perspective how contextual separation gaps between developed country outsourcers and developing country outsourcees can be an effective way to grasp the evolutionary path of outsourcing relationships.
Pawar, K. S., Huq, F. A., Khraishi, A., & Shah, J. (2019). Contextualisation of the complexity in the selection of developing country outsourcees by developed country outsourcers. International Journal of Production Research, 57(13), 4310-4332. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207543.2018.1529444