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International Business Research Forum


2nd Annual Offshoring Research Network (ORN) Conference and Workshop

9th Annual International Business Research Forum: International Sourcing



Temple University, Philadelphia
April 3-5, 2008
Organizers: Masaaki Kotabe and Ram Mudambi


Best Paper - $1,000
Honorable Mention - $500

Global sourcing strategy generally refers to management of (1) logistics identifying which production units will serve which particular markets and how components will be supplied for production and (2) the interfaces among R&D, manufacturing, and marketing on a global basis.  The primary objective of global sourcing strategy is for the firm to exploit both its own and its suppliers’ competitive advantages and the comparative locational advantages of various countries in global competition.  From a contractual point of view, the global sourcing of intermediate products such as components and services by firms takes place in two ways: 1) from the parents or their foreign subsidiaries on an “intra-firm” basis (i.e., insourcing) and 2) from independent suppliers on a “contractual” basis (i.e., outsourcing).  Similarly, from a locational point of view, multinational firms can procure goods and services either (1) domestically (i.e., onshoring) or (2) from abroad (i.e., offshoring).  

In the last 15 to 20 years, we have observed three waves of global sourcing. The first wave, starting in the mid-1980s, was primarily focused on global sourcing of manufacturing activities. Large manufacturing firms increasingly set up their operations globally and began to use suppliers from many countries to exploit best-in-world sources.  As a consequence, supply chains became more global and complex, with manufacturing firms sourcing from suppliers in many countries for raw materials, intermediate and final products.

A second wave started to occur in the early 1990s, when firms decided to start eliminating their information technology (IT) departments that had grown substantially.  As IT itself had become commoditized and many firms had little interest in developing new information systems in-house, this IT outsourcing wave spawned the growth of specialist providers, such as EDS and Accenture.  Global sourcing mostly involved labor-intensive and standardized programming activities, which could be easily sourced from locations like India.  The rise of commercial applications for a wide range of firm activities, epitomized in Enterprise Resource Planning systems, also implied that a marketplace had developed where independent suppliers could make competitive offerings.

A third wave, characterized as the offshoring movement, began in recent years.  We have witnessed the rise of business process outsourcing that extends beyond IT services to a range of other services relating to accounting, human resources management, finance, sales and after-sales such as call centers.  India is still a primary source country, and has now produced a range of strong local business process providers such as Infosys and Wipro, but competition from elsewhere is also on the rise.  It is this third wave of business process outsourcing that is now generating so much publicity.  Many are concerned that foreign business processes suppliers may be moving up the knowledge chain more rapidly than expected by sourcing firms.  Such knowledge transfer could in the long run undermine sourcing firms’ ability to differentiate themselves from their foreign suppliers. Indeed, such hollowing-out concerns have previously been raised about outsourcing of manufacturing activities before. 

This conference is a sequel to the First Annual Research Conference and Workshop on Offshoring held at Duke University in April, 2007, and focuses on broader issues related to international sourcing.  In this conference, we wish to foster a dialogue among scholars studying issues related to international sourcing and international competitiveness, and their implications for international business (IB) strategy and theory development.  Select papers from the research forum will be published in a Special Issue of the Journal of International Management.

Submission Guidelines: All proposals for plenary sessions, research papers, case studies and teaching studies should be submitted electronically by January 7, 2008, to the Journal of International Management Office at Alternatively, a disk copy may be submitted to the JIM office, Fox School of Business & Management, Temple University, 349 Speakman Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA. Additional information is available on the Temple CIBER website,, or by contacting Kim Cahill at 215-204-3778 or Manuscripts are submitted with the understanding that they are original, unpublished works and are not being submitted elsewhere.

Conference Information: Additional information on Duke University's Offshoring Research Network (ORN) 2006 Workshop and Conference may be found at:

Sponsors: The following CIBERs co-sponsor Duke University's Offshoring Research Network - Florida International University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Temple University, University of Connecticut, University of Hawaii, University of Kansas, University of Maryland, University of Memphis, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill