How does the power dynamics in the information technology outsourcing supply chain influence supplier's talent retention: a multiple case study

Xiwei Zhang*, Xiaoyan Liang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the power dynamics between the client firm and the supplier firm in the information technology outsourcing (ITO) supplier chain influence the supplier firm's human resource management (HRM) practices, particularly talent retention. Design/methodology/approach: A multi-case study approach was adopted comprising four supplier firms, three client firms and a total of 53 interviews. The transaction cost economics (TCE) is the theoretical lens that guides the interpretation of our findings. Findings: The power dynamics between client and supplier firms in the ITO supply chain is one underpinned by TCE theory, characterised by an asymmetric client-dominated, transactional relationship, with the client firms controlling the “why”, the “what”, and the “how” dimensions of their collaboration. This “three-dimensional control” led to high talent turnover in supplier firms, which boomerangs to perpetuate the power dynamic, forming “vicious cycles of talent turnover” in the ITO supplier chain. Originality/value: No previous study has analysed power dynamics as an external factor on ITO supplier firms' talent retention. The construct of the “three-dimensional-control” offers a framework to study power dynamics in the ITO supplier chain. The study’s framework of the “vicious cycles of talent turnover” is the first that explains the mechanisms through which the power dynamics in the ITO influences supplier's talent retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1168
Number of pages23
JournalPersonnel Review
Volume52
Issue number4
Early online date20 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • Case studies
  • ITO supply c
  • Power dynamics
  • Supplier firms
  • Talent retention
  • hain

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