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Offshoring Research Network

The Offshoring Research Network (ORN) is an international network of researchers and practitioners.
Offshoring Research Network
Leadership team

Joan Enric Ricart Costa (Professor of Strategic Management - IESE Business School)

Maria Bakardjieva (Research assistant – Center for Globalization and Strategy - IESE Business School)

Niccolò Pisani  (Assistant Professor of International Management - Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam)

Carmen Paz-Aparicio, PhD (Assistant Professor - Business Management - Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Pablo Agnese (Visiting Professor - FH Düsseldorf - Department of Business Studies)

Headquarters
North Carolina, USA
Region served
Worldwide
Year stablished
2004
Summary

The Offshoring Research Network (ORN) is an international network of researchers and practitioners dedicated to studying the transition of organizations towards globalizing their business functions, processes, and administrative services. It focuses on understanding the strategies, drivers, and implementations of offshoring across various business functions and processes.

The ORN, managed by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), conducts annual surveys to gather valuable insights on global sourcing strategies. These surveys track the concrete implementations and future plans of organizations engaging in offshoring activities.

According to the ORN, offshoring involves sourcing business functions or processes that support both domestic and global operations from foreign countries. This can be achieved through either wholly owned organizational units, such as captive offshoring or shared services, or by engaging external service providers through offshore outsourcing.

By collecting data and conducting research, the ORN aims to contribute to the understanding of offshoring practices and their implications for organizations. The network serves as a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange among researchers and practitioners involved in the field.


History

The Offshoring Research Network (ORN) was established in 2004 as a project under the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Dr. Arie Y. Lewin, a renowned professor of Strategy and International Business, and the Director of Duke CIBER, played a key role in initiating and leading the ORN project.

Initially, the ORN project focused on researching the offshoring of white-collar work. The annual research surveys conducted by the network provided valuable insights into the offshoring practices of organizations. As the project evolved, the ORN's research priorities shifted towards exploring the global search for talent and the offshoring of higher-skilled tasks, with a particular emphasis on product development.

In recent years, the ORN project has repositioned itself as a research initiative focused on studying companies in their transition to globalizing their business functions, processes, and administrative services. The understanding of offshoring has expanded beyond a standalone strategy to a means of developing new global organizational capabilities. Offshoring is seen as an intermediary step in the broader journey of organizations towards enhancing their global operations and competitiveness.

Throughout its history, the ORN has contributed significantly to the understanding of offshoring practices and their impact on businesses. The research findings have influenced the network's research focus, reflecting the changing dynamics and challenges in the global business landscape. With its ongoing research and collaborative efforts, the ORN continues to provide valuable insights that help organizations navigate the complexities of offshoring and effectively globalize their operations.


Goals and Purpose

The Offshoring Research Network (ORN) has established several goals and purposes to guide its research and activities. These include:

Understanding Offshoring: The ORN aims to deepen the understanding of offshoring practices, strategies, and trends across various industries and business functions. By conducting research and surveys, the network seeks to identify the motivations, drivers, and challenges associated with offshoring and how organizations navigate these factors.

Tracking Global Sourcing Strategies: The ORN conducts annual surveys to track and analyze global sourcing strategies employed by organizations. These surveys provide valuable insights into the concrete implementation of offshoring initiatives, including the selection of outsourcing destinations, types of functions or processes being offshored, and the use of captive offshoring or external service providers.

Focus on Business Functions and Processes: The ORN pays particular attention to the offshoring of business functions and processes, including white-collar work and higher-skilled tasks such as product development. By examining the offshoring of these specific areas, the network aims to shed light on the implications and outcomes of such practices for organizations and the global economy.

Transition to Globalization: The ORN views offshoring as an intermediate step in the broader process of companies transitioning to a more globalized business environment. The network seeks to understand how offshoring contributes to the development of new global organizational capabilities and how organizations leverage these capabilities to enhance their competitiveness and performance.

Academic-Practitioner Collaboration: The ORN encourages collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the field of offshoring. By fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange, the network aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice, ensuring that research findings are relevant and applicable to real-world offshoring scenarios.

Advancing Policy and Practice: The ORN's research and insights contribute to the advancement of offshoring policies and practices. By informing policymakers, industry professionals, and organizations, the network aims to facilitate the development of effective strategies, best practices, and frameworks that promote responsible and successful offshoring initiatives.


Impact

The Offshoring Research Network (ORN) has made significant impacts in the field of offshoring by providing valuable insights and contributing to knowledge development. Some of the key impacts of the ORN are:

Research Contribution: The ORN has generated a body of research that deepens the understanding of offshoring practices and their implications. The network's research findings have been published in academic journals, reports, and other publications, contributing to the knowledge base of offshoring studies. This research has helped scholars, practitioners, and policymakers gain insights into the motivations, challenges, and outcomes of offshoring initiatives.

Industry Awareness and Guidance: The ORN's annual surveys and research reports have increased industry awareness of offshoring trends and practices. By disseminating findings to practitioners and organizations, the network has provided valuable guidance and best practices for decision-making. This has helped organizations make informed choices regarding offshoring strategies, destination selection, vendor management, and risk assessment, among other aspects.

Policy Influence: The ORN's research outputs have influenced offshoring-related policies and regulations. Policymakers and government bodies rely on the network's research findings to understand the impacts of offshoring on economies, labour markets, and industries. This influence has contributed to the development of policies that promote responsible offshoring practices and support the growth of offshoring industries in various countries.

Collaboration and Networking: The ORN serves as a platform for collaboration and networking among researchers, practitioners, and industry experts. The network brings together a diverse range of stakeholders to share insights, exchange knowledge, and collaborate on research projects. This collaboration has fostered innovation, facilitated the sharing of best practices, and led to the development of new ideas and approaches in the field of offshoring.

Academic Advancement: The ORN's activities have contributed to the advancement of academic research and education in the field of offshoring. By providing a platform for researchers to share their work and engage in discussions, the network has promoted academic excellence and stimulated further research on offshoring-related topics. This has led to the development of new theories, frameworks, and methodologies for studying offshoring phenomena.

Industry Competitiveness: The ORN's research insights and best practices have helped organizations enhance their competitiveness in the global marketplace. By understanding the dynamics of offshoring and implementing effective strategies, companies can optimize their global sourcing decisions, improve operational efficiency, access specialized talent, and gain a competitive edge. The ORN's work has thus contributed to the success and growth of organizations engaged in offshoring activities.


References
Offshoring Research Network
Leadership team

Joan Enric Ricart Costa (Professor of Strategic Management - IESE Business School)

Maria Bakardjieva (Research assistant – Center for Globalization and Strategy - IESE Business School)

Niccolò Pisani  (Assistant Professor of International Management - Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam)

Carmen Paz-Aparicio, PhD (Assistant Professor - Business Management - Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Pablo Agnese (Visiting Professor - FH Düsseldorf - Department of Business Studies)

Headquarters
North Carolina, USA
Region served
Worldwide
Year stablished
2004