Outsourcing, as a strategic practice, has evolved. This notion extends from buying external sources as well as sourcing ideas from customers. What’s more the reasons to outsource have changed, thus challenging the management of inter-organisational relationships. The Evolution of Outsourcing Outsourcing is traditionally associated with the contracting of activities …
Outsourcing, as a strategic practice, has evolved. This notion extends from buying external sources as well as sourcing ideas from customers. What’s more the reasons to outsource have changed, thus challenging the management of inter-organisational relationships.
The Evolution of Outsourcing
Outsourcing is traditionally associated with the contracting of activities outside of an organisation. This decision would usually stem from economic reasons, where internal and external costs would be evaluated. However, the self-awareness of knowledge and skills existing just outside of a company initiated a shift of this practice. Through internal sourcing, learning, gaining ideas or skills from outside an organisation is a common practice; an interest in an acquisition rather than a release of an activity.
The openness of the organisational boundaries indicates a different relationship model. In contrast to the traditional outsourcing, an open model is based on the belief that organisations operate both inside and outside of the organisation’s boundaries. This model would then challenge the traditional definition of what is considered in and out within an organisational context. Therefore, the decision to ‘unlock’ the company would enhance external collaboration. Indeed, this scenario encourages collaborations between various organisations.
An open innovation model shows that innovation needs to happen inside and outside of the organisations’ boundaries, which highlights the opportunity to forge external relationships. Consequently, how to manage this relationship plays an important role in this new paradigm.
In this new relationship model the use of external sources has evolved. and so too has the management of the relationship. As the need for collaboration arises, a higher degree of participatory relationships are required. The client-supplier relationship has shifted from the one-way communication, based on action-reaction response, to an equally participatory relationship where engaging the client has become a common practise, as seen in the use of workshops or stakeholder co-creation sessions.
A Framework for External Relationships in the Design Industry
In my research, I suggest a tool to manage desired collaborations. In the context of design, it focuses on the relationship management between the two teams participating in an externally engaged project.
Based on four types of internal teams, according to four types of organisational situations, this framework suggests different factors to select the right partner as well as to achieve successful collaborations.
According to the internal team’s needs, it identifies the suitable relationship and therefore points out demanded requirements. An awareness of the participation as a requirement to achieve well-balanced relationships are reflected in this framework.