Systèmes d'Information et Management


When is it most appropriate for a firm to outsource a given activity ? In the past few years, in the United States and in France, many firms have subcontracted their data processing. Our concern here is mainly to consider the outsourcing of application development. Three theoretical frameworks are discussed in this paper : 1. Resource-based theory (strategic approach) ; 2. Industrial approach ; 3. Transaction costs economics. The empirical study relies on 12 French firms, the approach being both quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative analysis is based on 60 questionnaires describing the sourcing decisions and the project's characteristics. The qualitative analysis is based on interviews of executives from the same firms. Determinants of application development outsourcing are explored.