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Training drivers, competitive strategy and clients' needs: Case studies of three business process outsourcing organisations

Ashish Malik (Centre for Management, School of Business, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 27 February 2009




The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that drive a firm's decision to invest in training in India's IT‐enabled services/business process outsourcing (ITeS/BPO) sector. It aims to consider a much‐neglected area and an often‐cited need to consider external factors, especially the needs of an organisation's clients in a firm's decision to train.


The paper employs case study research strategy using semi‐structured interviews, organisational documents and non‐participant observation.


Employee turnover, competitive strategy, client specifications and quality management systems were important factors in shaping the nature and extent of training. The temporal dimension of the process was also significant in influencing volume of training. The study also found that learning and development were inextricably intertwined with its operations management, as against a firm's HR infrastructure.


As most HRD research adopts an inward‐looking approach, the study offers fresh insights by adopting an outward‐looking approach and considers the impact of an organisation's clients on provision of training. The study's distinctive contributions are in identifying the influence that client specifications, employee turnover, temporal and geographical dimension of processes have on provision of training and, in analysing the critical and unexplored link between a firm's market orientation, learning orientation, and quality management systems, in shaping the nature and extent of training provision. This research extends the current theory‐building debates and provides insights for practitioners and education policy makers about training decision making in ITeS/BPO firms.



Malik, A. (2009), "Training drivers, competitive strategy and clients' needs: Case studies of three business process outsourcing organisations", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 160-177.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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