The research aims to identify and comprehend the various types of signals transmitted between the user and IT outsourcing supplier that may indicate a potential dissolution of the IT-outsourcing partnership. This will be accomplished through a comprehensive literature review and empirical research in order to answer the following research question: “What types of signals sent between the user and IT outsourcing supplier, may indicate a potential dissolution of an IT-outsourcing partnership, and do certain indicators point to a specific type of dissolution?”. Knowledge gaps have been identified in the literature on this subject. Answers to these knowledge gaps have been sought through inductive explorative case study research. Through this research, patterns have been found that result in the following theoretical contributions. First, indirect responses lead to a decrease in trust. Secondly, the means of communication used to send and respond to signals can be deliberately used to avoid accountability. In addition, the research shows that when sending direct signals does not yield a response or improvement, a switch is made to an indirect signal that is noticeable to force a response. Furthermore it can be concluded that, when a partnership is not going well, the communication and signals become unfriendly and less pragmatic. At last, product quality, service quality, relationship quality and high switching costs are important indicators of a collaboration. Where switching costs in particular contribute to the decision to switch vendor or backsource.
- IT-outsourcing partnership
- Service provider
- Master Business Process management & IT (BPMIT)