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Brandl, Kristin Martina
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PhD Series No. 38.2014
The global economy is perpetually changing to a highly knowledge-based economy in which services and especially knowledge-intensive services are increasingly offshored (geographically relocated) to emerging market economies such as India. This trend is interesting as for decades services had been characterized as intangible, perishable, heterogeneous and inseparable from their sources of origin making a geographic dispersion of service production and consumption unimaginable. Thus, the geographic relocation of the services is expected to infer organizational and operational reconfigurations also impacting the service production. The thesis studies these reconfigurations by questioning: how does offshoring impact on the production of services. In order to capture the unique characteristics of services and provide a thorough understanding of the phenomenon, detailed and dynamic analyses of activities and actors through process perspectives are argued to be necessary. Process perspectives allow studying relationships between actions and individual actors from an organizational and operational angle. Two process perspectives are applied in this thesis in three independent research papers. The first research paper studies the offshoring process as a strategic and organizational change process that leads to a misalignment of components of a services production system and questions how this impact elicits a reconfiguration of the system. The second and third paper investigates the offshored production process of knowledge-intensive services with a focus on actors in the processes and their activities. That is, the second paper questions how the increase of cognitive distance between actors inferred by offshoring changes the production of the services including costs and value outcomes. The third paper questions how offshoring impacts client co-production, i.e. the transfer and co-creation of knowledge, in a similarly designed service production process of knowledgeintensive business services. Collectively, this research shows that process perspectives on service offshoring are essential to study the impact of offshoring on service production. It also allows an understanding on the importance of actors and the causal links between them and activities.
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Doctoral Thesis

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