Information Technology Outsourcing: Asset Transfer and the Role of Contract
Author: Young Bong Chang, Vijay Gurbaxani, Kiron Ravindran
Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) has become the predominant mode of acquiring information ystemsservices, providing clear evidence that the economics of service delivery favor external service providers over in-house information systems departments. An interesting feature of many large ITO arrangements is that assets necessary for service delivery are transferred to the vendor. The argument in favor of such asset transfers, based in Property Rights Theory, is that they are necessary to incentivize vendors to continue to invest in the transaction-specific assets to improve service. On the other hand, Transaction Cost Economics predicts that transferring such assets increases bilateral dependence and will elevate the risk of post-contractualopportunistic behavior. The contracting challenge is to specify the termsof exchange to achieve the client's objectives for outsourcing while managing the transaction risks.
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