Information technology outsourcing through a configurational lens Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper explores the value of a configurational approach to IT outsourcing by developing a framework for IT outsourcing effectiveness. Taking a process view of outsourcing and drawing on the relational view of the firm, the framework identifies four high-level dimensions that correspond to an organization’s resource position in four key areas: organizational IT value position, organizational IT asset position, relational asset position, and relational capability position. A novel structured method is used to identify the congruent outsourcing configurations within the range of possible outsourcing configurations based on the interdependencies among the four dimensions. Three congruent outsourcing configurations, designated asset dependence, relational dependence, and independence, emerge from this analysis. Drawing on the assumptions of configurational theory about organizational change and taking a dynamic perspective, the framework is extended to describe how organizations transition between outsourcing configurations over time. This paper demonstrates how a configurational approach can address three potential problems of the outsourcing literature and advance outsourcing research.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010