Knowledge creation perspective on IT outsourcing: A public sector – private sector context case study

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School of Economics | Master's thesis
Information Systems Science
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The phenomenon called IT outsourcing has been around for quite some time. These projects involve people participating over boundaries and confines of traditional organization. Therefore, it is quite natural to take an interorganizational knowledge management aspect on IT outsourcing. This study explores knowledge creation phenomena in an IT outsourcing setting where a Finnish public sector organization is switching an IT provider. The project is subject to Finnish Act of Public Procurements, which means that a formal tender process is required. This study answers to the question what knowledge is created in this type of setting. Additionally, the processes of knowledge creation are studied as well as the causes that influence knowledge creation. The research framework was build based on existing literature in the fields of knowledge management studies and IT outsourcing studies. This empiricist study was conducted as a single case study. The data was collected during spring of 2009 using mainly semi-structured interviews and direct observation. The key findings of this study suggest that although the contract intends to set the course for the project, and its composition takes place in the very beginning of the project, the participants seem to have different interpretation of the contract and its letter during different times of the project. The reason for this is lack of trust and consequent inflexibility. The contract or its interpretation itself can be seen as a piece of knowledge, a type of joint understanding, created in the beginning, but reviewed many times during the project, perhaps unnecessarily. Other, minor knowledge creation events appear during the project as well. For example, composing and reading a vocabulary document, achieving common understanding about the modules and information system dependencies and communication.
knowledge creation, IT outsourcing, public sector, case study, contract, tietämyksenluominen, informaatioteknologian ulkoistaminen, julkinen sektori, tapaustutkimus, sopimus
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