Offshore insourcing in software development: structuring the decision-making process

Darja Šmite, Claes Wohlin, Aybuke Aurum, Ronald Jabangwe, Emil Numminen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of new forms of business are enabled through globalization and practiced by software organizations today. While companies go global to reduce their development costs, access a larger pool of resources and explore new markets, it is often assumed that the level of delivered services shall remain the same after implementing the sourcing decisions. In contrast, critical studies identified that global software development is associated with unique challenges, and a lot of global projects fail to mitigate the implications of a particular global setting. In this paper we explore offshore insourcing decisions on the basis of empirical research literature and an empirical field study conducted at Ericsson. By analyzing decisions in two different cases we found that each offshore insourcing decision consisted of deciding what, where, when, how and why to insource. Related empirical research and field observations suggest that not all combinations are successful and alignment between different decision points has thus a prominent role. To address these concerns we built an empirically-based insourcing decision structure, which outlines a logical path through the decision options and helps selecting an offshore insourcing strategy that targets creation of the necessary alignment. The key element of the proposed approach is a structured and well-defined decision-making process, which is intended to support managers in their decision-making. The usefulness of the proposed approach is evaluated in an additional empirical case of a new offshore insourcing decision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1067
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Business Administration (50202)


  • Empirical field study
  • Global software development
  • Go-global decisions
  • Offshore insourcing
  • Sourcing


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