Discussion of the Research Question
Research Question One
The first research question targets determination of the main variables that businesses consider when making decisions to outsource their information processes. It is important to note the emphasis placed on the term main when referring to the variables that will be determined in the study. Current studies have explored outsourcing from different dimensions including: its benefits, critical success factor, managerial factors to consider and the variables that may affect the decision to outsource (Kumar, & Eickhoff, 2005; Vlaar, van Fenema, & Tiwari, 2008). However, no research has gone as far as determining the importance of each of the variables that influence the decision to outsource. The current studies generalize the variables that affect decision making and do not highlight the key variables. This is a deficiency in research that is prevalent in studies on information processes outsourcing as well as other forms of outsourcing (Kumar, & Eickhoff, 2005; Vlaar, van Fenema, & Tiwari, 2008). Findings from this study will help determine if there are any significant differences in the importance that should be attached to the variables that affect decision making when outsourcing IT processes.
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By addressing the research question, the study may actually develop an order of precedence of the variables that affect the decision to outsource information processes. Thus the study aims to address the current generalization of variables that businesses consider when making the decision to outsource and fill this gap in literature. The gap is brought about by the fact that no study has yet determined if there are differences and if there should be differences in the importance attached to different variables when businesses make decisions to outsource their IT processes. Moreover, the study will highlight and raise questions on other extraneous variables that may affect the weight associated with given decision making variables when outsourcing. This questions and issues will form a basis for further research into IT processes outsourcing. It is thus evident that the research question not only addresses a gap in the existing studies but also raises questions that will promote further research into decision making when outsourcing IT processes.
Research Question Two
The second research question is concerned with determining if risk assessment is significantly influential on the decision making processes when seeking to outsource information processes. Businesses operate in a highly dynamic environment that forces them to continually evaluate their internal and external environments for risks and threats. Strategic management principles clearly outline the importance that should be attached to evaluation when carrying out outsourcing as a strategic activity (King, 2008). However, IT process outsourcing is a relatively new field and little research has been done to determine the importance of and how to go about risk assessment before making the decision to outsource IT processes. Currently, researchers emphasize on the need to evaluate IT processes that have been outsourced more than risk assessment before making the decision to outsource (Vlaar, van Fenema, & Tiwari, 2008).
Assessing risks before making the decision to outsource may place a business in a better position to understand the threats it may face and determine if outsourcing is a feasible avenue to meeting its IT processes needs. The research questions will determine the importance of risk assessment as a step in making the decision to outsource IT processes and address negligence of risk assessment prior to outsourcing IT processes by researchers. Additionally, address of the research question may help develop awareness among researchers and in practice on the need for further research and considerations of risk assessment before making the decision to outsource IT processes. The main finding from addressing the research question is expected to be a measure of the role played by risk assessment when making the decision to outsource information processes.
Research Question Three
The third research question is concerned with determining if change management considerations are significantly influential on the decision making process when seeking to outsource information processes. Change management is a key area in managerial studies and is generally considered to be a key factor in ensuring that employees have the expertise and are in a psychological frame of mind to carry out a change process and realize its goals (Ollerhead, 2008). IT processes outsourcing is a change process in organizations and is therefore expected to have multiple associated change management considerations. These change management considerations like training, inclusion of employees in decision making and managerial commitment have been addressed by researchers (Ollerhead, 2008; Mani, Barua, & Whinston, 2010). However, their influence on the decision making process when making the decision to outsource information processes has yet to be addressed. Simply, change management affects the benefits gained from information process outsourcing and should therefore be considered as a variable that influence decision making. However, this is not the case in research and practice since change management considerations are often treated as post-implementation requirement rather than variables that affect the initial decision making processes (Mani, Barua, & Whinston, 2010).
Currently, few studies emphasize on the need to determine if change management requirements are within the reach of an organization before making the decision to outsource IT business processes. This deficiency in knowledge on IT processes outsourcing will be dealt with by addressing this research question. It is expected that findings from the research question will include both qualitative and quantitative data on the role of change management requirements in the decision making process.
Research Question Four
The fourth research question is concerned with determining if businesses include different stakeholders when making decisions on the processes to outsource and the third party entity to outsource to. This research question stems from the importance placed on the involvement of different entities that will be affected by a strategic direction adopted by a business in formulating the direction (Sia, Koh, & Tan, 2008). IT processes affect various facets of organizational operations and therefore different stakeholders are expected to be involved in the decision making processes (Wang, Gwebu, Wang, & Zhu, 2008). However, in practice inclusion of different entities in making the decision to outsource IT processes may be limited by organizational practices and the prevailing financial environment. Thus, the number of businesses that involve different stakeholders and the diversity of their decision-making committee may vary depending on the prevailing economic environment. This research question seeks to determine if businesses are currently including different organizational stakeholders when making the decision to outsource IT processes and if the decision making teams or committee are properly representative of different stakeholders that may be affected by the decision to outsource IT business processes.
Findings from addressing this research question will create a clear picture of the inclusion of different stakeholders when making decision to outsource IT processes in the current business landscape. This is an important addition to the existing knowledge on IT processes outsourcing and may develop need for further research to deduce the reasons for the results. The expected findings in addressing this research question are quantitative data on the proportion of organizations that involve different stakeholders and the representativeness of the decision making teams or committees.
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