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The outsourcing practice among small knowledge-intensive service firms
School of Business, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.
School of Business and Science, University of Akureyri Iceland, Akureyri, Iceland.
University of Skövde, School of Business. University of Skövde, Enterprises for the Future Research Environment. (Knowledge, Innovation and Marketing (KIM))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8469-2427
2020 (English)In: VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, ISSN 2059-5891Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to present findings on outsourcing practices in small service firms in Iceland, where the prime focus is on knowledge-intensive service firms. Design/methodology/approach: To gain information on the scope and reason for outsourcing, telephone and online surveys were used. In total, 802 firms participated in the surveys, which were conducted in the period 2009-2018. Findings: The results show that knowledge-intensive firms outsource far more than other service firms and are also more likely to have an outsourcing strategy. The grounds for increased outsourcing are cost reduction and strategic reasons, such as a focus on core competency and the search for external knowledge. In comparison with other firms, knowledge-intensive firms are increasingly outsourcing cleaning, security services, canteen and transportation, IT processes, human resource management, training and consulting. Additionally, managers of these firms select suppliers more on the basis of cost and quality. They also realize more cost savings as a consequence of outsourcing. Outsourcing had a very limited effect on employment in the firms, while cost reduction was achieved in 48.3 per cent of the firms involved. Research limitations/implications: The findings are in line with the resource-based theory and, interestingly, this is not limited to knowledge-based firms, but to a large portion of service firms as well. Originality/value: This is the first in-depth study on outsourcing patterns in knowledge-intensive firms, which uses theoretical classification in empirical analysis. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2020.
Keywords [en]
Human resources, Iceland, Knowledge-based firms, Knowledge-intensive firms, Outsourcing, Outsourcing strategy, Survey, Telephone and online survey, Cost reduction, Human resource management, Knowledge based systems, Personnel, Surveying, Surveys, Telephone sets, Transportation personnel, Icelands, Knowledge based, Online surveys
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Knowledge and Innovation Management (KIM)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-18220DOI: 10.1108/VJIKMS-06-2019-0083ISI: 000512180300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85079186525OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-18220DiVA, id: diva2:1395748
Available from: 2020-02-24 Created: 2020-02-24 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved

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Durst, Susanne

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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