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Me, myself and I: Non-collaborative customer behavior in service outsourcing – the key role of outcome orientation and outcome attributability

Torsten Steinbach (Supply Chain Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Düsseldorf, Germany)
Carl Marcus Wallenburg (Supply Chain Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Düsseldorf, Germany)
Kostas Selviaridis (Management Science, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 23 May 2018

Issue publication date: 14 June 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This research focuses on the role of customer behavior in service outsourcing relationships that are governed by outcome-oriented contracts. The purpose of this paper is to explain how non-collaborative customer behavior impedes the effectiveness of outcome-oriented contracts to align the goals and incentives of the customer and service provider, and leads to service provider opportunism.

Design/methodology/approach

Nine hypotheses are developed regarding customer behavior and the reaction of the service provider to this. These are tested using structural equation modeling with data from 213 service outsourcing relationships.

Findings

Outcome-orientated contracts in service outsourcing may have unintended consequences because they create value attribution ambiguity. This ambiguity induces non-collaborative customer behavior, which, in turn, results in service provider opportunism. This reveals a paradox, where customer behavior aimed at curbing service provider opportunism instead induces such opportunism. This chain of effects can be counteracted by increased outcome attributability, which reduces the ambiguity and, thus, the motivation for non-collaborative customer behavior.

Originality/value

This research extends the existing literature by stressing that non-collaborative customer behavior is a key reason why outcome-oriented contracts fail in effectively governing outsourcing relationships, and that this can be counteracted by increased outcome attributability.

Keywords

Citation

Steinbach, T., Wallenburg, C.M. and Selviaridis, K. (2018), "Me, myself and I: Non-collaborative customer behavior in service outsourcing – the key role of outcome orientation and outcome attributability", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 1519-1539. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-05-2017-0297

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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