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IT outsourcing management in Poland – trends and performance

Malgorzata Sobinska (Wroclaw University of Economics,Wroclaw, Poland)
Leslie Willcocks (Department of Management, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK)

Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1753-8297

Article publication date: 15 February 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find how mature the Polish commercial production companies are in their information technology (IT) sourcing practices, what they do, the practices that are successful, the challenges experienced and the outcomes.The paper presents and critically evaluates the results of a study of IT outsourcing management processes in selected industrial enterprises operating in Poland. Dynamic business contexts, globalisation and advances in IT make the development of IT sourcing models challenging in both theory and practice. This paper examines the principles and practice of sourcing IT and business processes in Poland, a country much under-represented in the literature. Little research has been conducted on the strategic rationale behind IT sourcing decisions, the resulting challenges and the potential or actual consequences of such decisions. This paper addresses these gaps in the understanding of IT sourcing processes by way of examining the types of sourcing models and solutions among manufacturing companies operating in Poland, and by identifying the most problematic and critical factors in effective IT sourcing collaborations. The outcomes are assessed against findings from the broader empirical outsourcing literature, and lessons are drawn for Polish client firms and those in similar economies.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey methodology of a limited number of organisations in Poland was used. The study was designed to address the process of managing IT sourcing relations in production companies operating in Poland. The main objective of the study was to formulate working hypotheses to be used in further research on the sourcing models used in the IT sphere. Additionally, the study was designed to provide information on: the potential respondent reactions to the research problem, the understanding of the notions and terms used in the survey questionnaire and the evaluation of the research instrument itself.

Findings

Organisations (and their employees) are generally well aware of their IT needs, and that they select quite well providers that suit their particular requirements. In their selection processes, organisations carefully consider not only the providers’ experience and the range of services on offer but also their flexibility in response to the client’s demands, the location and the trust formed in the course of previous cooperation. Communication between the parties typically takes the form of telephone conversations and e-mails. The majority of respondents reported more than one type of problems faced in the course of outsourcing. Problems concentrated in the areas of communication (52 per cent) and organisation (48 per cent), followed by difficulties in enforcing the terms of the contract.

Research limitations/implications

It is a selective sample, focuses only on production companies and does not look at the offshore outsourcing market that has grown up in Poland, but rather what domestic polish organisations do in their sourcing practices.

Practical implications

The organisations still struggle with the organisation and management of relations with their external service providers while getting reasonable results. They have much to learn from the published literature on managing the outsourcing life cycle.

Social implications

There is a need for better inter-organisational cooperation.

Originality/value

Poland is very underrepresented in the outsourcing literature – there are no examples of surveys like this in the English literature.

Keywords

Citation

Sobinska , M. and Willcocks, L. (2016), "IT outsourcing management in Poland – trends and performance", Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 60-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/SO-10-2015-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited