Managing attrition in offshore finance and accounting outsourcing

Exploring the interplay of competing institutional logics

Brian Nicholson, Aini Aman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Managing attrition is a major challenge for outsourcing vendors. Literature on management control in offshore outsourcing is dominated by the formal approaches to control design, which do not adequately consider the influence of contextual factors. This article aims to adopt the lens of institutional theory, and use empirical data gathered from case studies in both the UK and India to improve the understanding of the institutional logics that shape the control of attrition. This article draws on in-depth qualitative research undertaken with directors and senior managers in client and vendor firms engaged in outsourcing relationships that span both corporate and national boundaries. Drawing on empirical data from the UK and India, the interplay between the management control of attrition and contextual factors is analysed, and the practices adopted to manage these contextual factors are also identified and discussed. The analysis presents relevant aspects of the regulative, normative and cognitive institutions inhabited by vendor firms and the challenges such aspects present for managing attrition. The dynamics of institutions and control are discussed in the area of attrition, and the interplay between institutions and control is outlined. The regulative, normative and cognitive institutions inhabited by vendor firms contrast markedly to that of the client in relation to social and legal rules, norms and practices. The paper develops a theoretical basis for linking control and context in offshore outsourcing, drawing on the work of Scott in institutional theory, and Friedland and Alford, in institutional logics. This paper offers an alternative conceptualisation of control in attrition based upon rationalistic modelling through institutional logics. This paper offers key implications for research, in improving the understanding of contextual factors and management control in global outsourcing relationships. Both clients and vendors in offshore outsourcing need to be aware of the influence of contextual factors when managing attrition. The interplay of institutional logics and implications on the control of attrition provides an interesting approach to understanding how firms manage attrition in offshore outsourcing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-247
Number of pages16
JournalStrategic Outsourcing
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2012

Fingerprint

Outsourcing
Finance
Institutional logics
Attrition
Contextual factors
Vendors
Offshore outsourcing
Management control
India
Empirical data
Institutional theory
Senior managers
Qualitative research
Conceptualization
Modeling

Keywords

  • Attrition
  • Finance and accounting
  • India
  • Institutional logics
  • Institutional theory
  • Offshore outsourcing
  • Outsourcing
  • United Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research

Cite this

Managing attrition in offshore finance and accounting outsourcing : Exploring the interplay of competing institutional logics. / Nicholson, Brian; Aman, Aini.

In: Strategic Outsourcing, Vol. 5, No. 3, 16.11.2012, p. 232-247.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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