Jorg Verbaas (2010) “It takes two to tango”. A Review of the Empirical Literature on Information Technology Outsourcing Relationship Satisfaction. Ph.D. dissertation, Tilburg University, Draft Paper
There is growing recognition that the overall client-vendor relationship, and not only the contract, plays a critical role in Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) success. However, our understanding of how ITO relationships function is limited. This paper contributes to this understanding by reviewing empirical literature on ITO success in terms of relationship satisfaction. A key finding is that the majority of reviewed studies concentrates on client satisfaction, thus neglecting the vendor perspective. We argue that this raises questions about the construct validity of these studies. Consequently, concerns exist about the validity and reliability of their empirical findings. Some scholars have acknowledged the problem and use a dyadic perspective. However, a review of these studies reveals that the authors have underestimated their contributions and do not explain why there is a problem. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to highlight their contributions by comparing the findings of the dyadic perspective studies with those of the “client perspective” research. In doing so, we assess whether the dyadic studies produce better explanations for ITO success than the client-oriented studies. We argue that this is indeed the case, by producing a better view on how underlying mechanisms of ITO relationships work.
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