Special Issue on Outsourcing Business Processes


Industrial Marketing Management; Impact on Industrial Marketing Strategy Formulation and Implementation; Deadline 15 Sep 2006

Industrial Marketing Management
Call for Papers

Special Issue
"Outsourcing Business Processes: Impact on Industrial Marketing Strategy Formulation and Implementation"
Deadline for submissions: September 15, 2006

In recent years, the outsourcing of business practices has increased dramatically (Technology Partners International).  Business functions such as sales, marketing, customer service, and distribution, which were once core business practices, are now being routinely outsourced.  A major reason for this shift is the fact that businesses are now taking advantage of global talent pools available at a much lower cost.   Firms are now able to do this by using IT and global connectivity to meaningfully disaggregate their value chain. A recent Business Week article cited several executives from leading US companies claiming that, in pursuing the above, firms focus more on enhancing their ability to serve customers better and less on ‘labor arbitrage’.  Additionally, they point to the flexibility outsourcing offers to scale their operations, enter new market segments, build products faster and deliver better customer value.   Although this global talent pool is cited as one reason for the growing popularity of outsourcing, the majority of outsourcing is still performed domestically.   In fact, according the US Labor Department, US based companies providing outsourcing services continue to increase the size of their domestic workforces at a significant rate.

We at IMM would like to invite scholarly research articles that deal with strategic and tactical aspects of outsourcing business processes.  We would like to encourage authors to submit empirical articles and case studies although conceptual papers of high quality are welcome.  We have put together the following lines of research that we feel would add value to the special issue with the usual caveat that these by no means should be treated as exhaustive:

  • What firm-specific factors determine a company’s decision to outsource their business process?
  • How do corporations execute such complex business relationships? How do they determine which processes to send out and which to keep?
  • Do companies change their marketing strategies as they outsource more?
  • How do supply side sourcing strategies influence a company’s approach to market – Do companies become more market oriented as they send out more processes?
  • Does the structure of companies’ marketing organization change as they outsource more business processes?
  • Does outsourcing business processes increase the amount of overall value created (pie) or it merely re-distributes individual shares of the value chain constituents?
  • Do organizations that operate in different market segments show differing levels of propensity to outsource?
  • Does strategic planning process within companies change as they pursue more outsourcing strategies?
  • What are some of the governance issues that companies face as they relinquish customer touch points to outsiders?
  • How do companies ensure that customer related ‘sticky knowledge’ remains within the firm even as they outsource marketing and sales processes?
  • How are relationship contracts structured between buyer and seller of such outsourcing services? How is the value created or performance measured in such relationships?
  • How does outsourcing affect employee morale? Do outsourced business functions such as customer service and sales work as efficiently and effectively?
  • For instance, do salespeople identify themselves more with the supplier organization that they work for or the "buyer" organization that they represent while executing sales strategies? Do the salespeople face conflict in dealing with their own organizational identification issue? What impact do these factors have on sales-force performance and sales management?  
  • How do partners in outsourcing relationships agree on distribution of value and reduce conflicts?

Submission of manuscripts is by e-mail only.  Please attach a single MSWord file containing the complete manuscript.  Please place the materials in the following sequence: Title page (title of the paper, author(s) and their affiliations including addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses), Author biographies, Abstract and keywords, Body of the manuscript, References, Tables, Figures, Appendices (if used).  Do NOT place figures or tables in the body of the manuscript but do indicate where you would like them placed.  Do not send a PDF file and do not send a Word file that has had the track changes feature engaged (as it is virtually impossible to blind the file).  We will not accept any papers for review that are under consideration elsewhere or which have been published (in whole of part) in another journal. Send your e-mail to the special issue editors listed below and copy the IMM editor at plaplaca@journalimm.com.

Deadline for submissions: September 15, 2006

Please feel free to contact any of the special issue editors for further details.

Special Issue Editors:

Prof Michael Ahearne
Associate Professor and Research Director of
Sales Excellence Institute
C. T. Bauer College of Business
375D Melcher Hall
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-6021

Dr Prabakar (PK) Kothandaraman
Sr. Researcher
Harvard Business School-India Research Center
5th Floor, ‘B’ Wing
Mahindra Towers
Mumbai 400 018