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The influence of total domestic outsourcing on the role of the IT function: a case study of the BBC

Mehta, Hemini (2011) The influence of total domestic outsourcing on the role of the IT function: a case study of the BBC. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The prominent themes of the research are total domestic outsourcing and the role of the IT function. The latter has been an issue for researchers and practitioners since the early days of information systems. The role of IT has changed considerably over the years, from basic administrative data processing to the central focus of enabling strategic processes. The literature reveals the considerable changes that have taken place over the last 30 years in the role of the IT function. The IT department over the years has moved from a traditional manufacturing role, where the department would be involved in software development and maintenance, computer operations, and technical services, to a more services orientated role. In addition, IT outsourcing has grown over the past thirty years to become a major industry. It usually involves some transfer of assets and staff to the vendor. The concept of IT outsourcing has changed over the years from a tactical option for the IT function to, in some cases, a significant part of a long-term strategy to structure and manage organisations. As such, it has often had a considerable influence on the role of the IT function. Although much has been written about IT sourcing strategy, there is a gap in the literature regarding in-depth case studies of the impact of IT outsourcing on the IT function, seen within various levels of the organisation, from senior management down to operations, and everyday users. Similarly, there are few studies that consider IT outsourcing in the context of other competitive and industrial forces that are affecting the management and operation of large organisations. This research comprises a detailed case study of the implementation of large-scale domestic IT outsourcing within the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It utilises Activity Theory as a lens to examine the implementation from the perspective of various stakeholder groups at different levels within the organisation in order to address the research question: “What is the influence of total domestic IT outsourcing on the role of the IT function?” The central contributions of the thesis are within the methodological and theoretical areas. The in-depth case study of a large organisation with a rich culture draws out interesting data, and the use of Activity Theory analyses the data in a novel way. The total domestic outsourcing affects not only the role of the IT function, but the entire organisation. It leads to huge transfers of staff and assets, restructures, redundancies and changes to everyday processes

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Hemini Mehta
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Smithson, Steve

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