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Abstract

In this paper, we studied the public’s opinion of outsourcing and offshoring as reflected in political cartoons. Researchers in many fields have used political cartoons to track public opinion, yet we are unaware of any such research in the field of IS. We analyzed the content of 165 political cartoons from the U.S. and India that depict offshoring and outsourcing. Overall, U.S./Western political cartoons portray outsourcing and offshoring negatively, causing lost jobs for workers and poorer customer service for consumers. Indian political cartoons focus on jobs gained and the labor and infrastructure constraints caused by the rapid growth of ITO and BPO industries. We also compared the content of political cartoons to IS academic research. We found both similarities and differences. One similarity is that lower costs were found to be the most common reason depicted/cited for outsourcing/offshoring in political cartoons and IS academic research. One difference is that political cartoonists primarily empathize and thus promote the interests of the workers, direct supervisors, and customers most affected by outsourcing/offshoring whereas IS researchers primarily promote the interests of the firm. We also discuss the use of political cartoons as an effective pedagogical device in global outsourcing courses.

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