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Organizational and Talent attributes of the Indian IT industry

Kelitha Cherian (Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India)
T.J. Kamalanabhan (Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 20 June 2019

Issue publication date: 24 July 2019




This study is a comparative organizational analysis of the four subsectors of the Indian information technology (IT) industry, namely, IT service (ITS), business process outsourcing (BPO), software products services (SPS) and engineering and R&D (ER&D). The purpose of this paper is to empirically identify the cross-sectorial attributes, organizational characteristics and the talent best suited to it.


Data were collected using a qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews of 17 industry experts.


Findings suggest there are differences in the internal organization of each subsector and this influences the talent attracted toward it. ITS and BPO are perceived as customer driven sectors where technology is an enabler to facilitate smooth functioning of customer operations. Conversely, technology is the core factor that drives SPS and ER&D. Similar observations and differences in the design, environment, individual motives and competencies are identified. The study also identified the inter-relationships between organizational characteristics, task and social structures in the IT industry using Perrow’s organizational theory.

Research limitations/implications

The findings identify contextual dimensions and shared patterns that exist between the subsectors. At the same time, it distinguishes each subsector in terms of observable and objective characteristics. Significantly, the study highlights the inter-relationships between technology, task, raw material, goal and social interactions. However, the authors stop short of framing hypotheses to test the relationships identified here.


This cross-sectorial study delineates between the four subsectors and provides a foundation for pursuing future investigations in the right direction. This attempt to systematically analyze and compare all the subsectors of the IT industry simultaneously is a distinctive approach. The sectorial diversity suggests a need for talent management practices that will fit the unique characteristics of each subsector.



The authors thank Ms Keziah George for her help with the editing of the final manuscript.


Cherian, K. and Kamalanabhan, T.J. (2019), "Organizational and Talent attributes of the Indian IT industry", Employee Relations, Vol. 41 No. 5, pp. 876-897.



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