Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Vendor capabilities and outsourcing success: A resource-based view

  • 389 Accesses

  • 14 Citations


Outsourcing is a generally accepted method for fulfilling an organization’s information systems (IS) needs. A prominent motive for outsourcing is a desire to increase the organization’s access to high-quality information technology and expertise. There is, however, little research that examines the connection between vendor capabilities and customer satisfaction. This paper addresses that gap by using the resource-based view of the firm to investigate linkages between vendor capabilities, IS quality, and customer satisfaction.

A survey was completed by managers of outsourcing customer firms. The results were analyzed using Partial Least Squares (PLS). The results indicate that customers evaluate a vendor primarily in terms of technological capabilities, followed by relationship management capabilities. The vendor’s understanding of the customer’s business was not considered to be significant. There is a significant connection between the vendor’s capabilities and the quality of the IS function, which in turn was related to customer satisfaction.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. [Adle66]

    Adler, L.: Symbiotic Marketing. In: Harvard Business Review 44 (1966) 6, pp. 59–71.

  2. [ADPR99]

    Aubert, B. A.; Dussault, S.; Patry, M.; Rivard, S.: Managing the Risk of IT Outsourcing. In: Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences 1999, pp. 685–691.

  3. [AmSc93]

    Amit, R.; Schoemaker, P. J. H.: Strategic Assets and Organizational Rent. In: Strategic Management Journal 14 (1993) 1, pp. 33–46.

  4. [AnNa84]

    Anderson, J.; Narus, J.: A Model of the Distributor’s Perspective of Distributor-Manufacturer Form Working Relationships. In: Journal of Marketing 48 (1984) 4, pp. 62–74.

  5. [Barn91]

    Barney, J. B.: Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. In: Journal of Management 17 (1991) 1, pp. 99–120.

  6. [BaTH95]

    Barclay, D.; Thompson, R.; Higgins, C.: The Partial Least Squares (PLS) Approach to Causal Modeling: Personal Computer Adoption and Use as an Illustration. In: Technology Studies 2 (1995) 2, pp. 285–309.

  7. [ChGT95]

    Cheon, M. J.; Grover, V.; Teng, J. T. C.: Theoretical Perspectives on the Outsourcing of Information Systems. In: Journal of Information Technology 10 (1995) 4, pp. 209–219.

  8. [Chin98a]

    Chin, W. W.: The Partial Least Squares Approach for Structural Equation Modeling. In: Marcoulides, G. (Eds.): Modern Methods for Business Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah 1998a, pp. 295–336.

  9. [Chin98b]

    Chin, W. W.: Issues and Opinion on Structural Equation Modeling. In: MIS Quarterly 22 (1998b) 1, pp. vii–xvi.

  10. [ChNe98]

    Chin, W. W.; Newsted, P.: Structural Equation Modeling Analysis with Small Samples using Partial Least Squares. In: Hoyle, R. (Eds.): Statistical Strategies for Small Sample Research. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks 1998, pp. 307–341.

  11. [ClZM95]

    Clark, T. D.; Zmud, R. W.; McCray, G. E.: The Outsourcing of Information Systems: Transforming the Nature of Business in the Information Industry. In: Journal of Information Technology 10 (1995) 4, pp. 221–237.

  12. [Cros95]

    Cross, J.: IT Outsourcing: British Petroleum. In: Harvard Business Review 73 (1995) 3, pp. 94–102.

  13. [DeMc92]

    DeLone, W.; McLean, E.: Information Systems Success: The Quest for the Dependent Variable. In: Information Systems Research 3 (1992) 1, pp. 60–95.

  14. [DeMc02]

    DeLone, W.; McLean, E.: Information Systems Success Revisited. In: Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences 2002, pp. 238.

  15. [DiGH01]

    Dibbern, J.; Güttler, W.; Heinzl, A.: Die Theorie der Unternehmung als Erklärungsansatz für das selektive Outsourcing der Informationsverarbeitung. In: Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft 71 (2001) 6, pp. 675–699.

  16. [DiGu98]

    DiRomualdo, A.; Gurbaxani, V.: Strategic Intent for IT Outsourcing. In: Sloan Management Review 39 (1998) 4, pp. 67–80.

  17. [DiHe02]

    Dibbern, J.; Heinzl, A.: Outsourcing of Information Systems in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: A Test of a Multi-Theoretical Causal Model. In: Hirschheim, R., A. Heinzl, J. Dibbern (Eds.): Information Systems Outsourcing: Enduring Themes, Emergent Patterns, and Future Directions. Springer-Verlag, Berlin 2002, pp. 77–99.

  18. [Dunc98]

    Duncan, N. B.: Beyond Opportunism: A Resource-based View of Outsourcing Risk. In: Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences 1998, pp. 675–684.

  19. [GeSB00]

    Gefen, D.; Straub, D.; Boudreau, M.: Structural Equation Modeling and Regression: Guidelines for Research Practice. In: Communications of the Association for Information Systems 4 (2000) 7, pp. 2–77.

  20. [Gole01]

    Goles, T.: The Impact of the Client-Vendor Relationship on Outsourcing Success. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Houston, 2001.

  21. [Gran91]

    Grant, R. M.: The Resource-based Theory of Competitive Advantage: Implications for Strategy Formulation. In: California Management Review 33 (1991) 3, pp. 114–135.

  22. [GrCT94]

    Grover, V.; Cheon, M. J.; Teng, J. T. C.: A Descriptive Study on the Outsourcing of Information Systems Functions. In: Information & Management 27 (1994) 1, pp. 33–44.

  23. [GrCT96]

    Grover, V.; Cheon, M. J.; Teng, J. T. C.: The Effect of Service Quality and Partnership on the Outsourcing of Information Systems Functions. In: Journal of Management Information Systems 12 (1996) 4, pp. 89–116.

  24. [Hoyl95]

    Hoyle, R.: The Structural Equation Modeling Approach: Basic Concepts and Fundamental Issues. In: Hoyle, R. (Eds.): Structural Equation Modeling: Concepts, Issues, and Applications. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks 1995, pp. 1–15.

  25. [Hube93]

    Huber, R. L.: How Continental Bank Outsourced its Crown Jewels. In: Harvard Business Review 71 (1993) 1, pp. 121–129.

  26. [Kern97]

    Kern, T.: The Gestalt of an Information Technology Outsourcing Relationship: An Exploratory Analysis. In: International Conference on Information Systems 1997, pp. 37–58.

  27. [LaHi93]

    Lacity, M. C.; Hirschheim, R.: The Information Systems Outsourcing bandwagon. In: Sloan Management Review 35 (1993) 1, pp. 73–86.

  28. [LaWi98]

    Lacity, M. C.; Willcocks, L. P.: An Empirical Investigation of Information Technology Sourcing Practices: Lessons from Experience. In: MIS Quarterly 22 (1998) 3, pp. 363–408.

  29. [LaWi00]

    Lacity, M. C.; Willcocks, L. P.: Relationships in IT Outsourcing: A Stakeholder Perspective. In: Zmud, R. W. (Eds.): Framing the Domains of IT Management: Projecting the Future Through the Past. Pinnaflex Educational Resources, Cincinnati 2000, pp. 355–385.

  30. [LaWi01]

    Lacity, M. C.; Willcocks, L. P.: Global Information Technology Outsourcing: In Search of Business Advantage. Wiley, Chichester 2001.

  31. [LeKi99]

    Lee, J.-N.; Kim, Y.-G.: Effect of Partnership Quality on IS Outsourcing Success: Conceptual Framework and Empirical Validation. In: Journal of Management Information Systems 15 (1999) 4, pp. 29–61.

  32. [LeTF95]

    Lee, D.; Trauth, E.; Farwell, D.: Critical Skills and Knowledge Requirements of IS Professionals: A Joint Academic/Industry Investigation. In: MIS Quarterly 19 (1995) 3, pp. 313–340.

  33. [LoLi99]

    Lorenzoni, G.; Lipparini, A.: The Leveraging of Interfirm Relationships as a Distinctive Organizational Capability: A Longitudinal Study. In: Strategic Management Journal 20 (1999) 4, pp. 317–338.

  34. [NRRC96]

    Nam, K.; Rajagopalan, S.; Rao, H.; Chaudhury, A.: A Two-level Investigation of Information Systems Outsourcing. In: Communications of the ACM 39 (1996) 7, pp. 36–44.

  35. [Penr59]

    Penrose, E. T.: The Theory of the Growth of the Firm. Wiley, New York 1959.

  36. [ReBe94]

    Reeves, C.; Bednar, D.: Defining Quality: Alternatives and Implications. In: Academy of Management Review 19 (1994) 3, pp. 419–445.

  37. [RoAu02]

    Roy, V.; Aubert, B. A.: A Resource-Based Analysis of IT Sourcing. In: Database 33 (2002) 2, pp. 29–40.

  38. [RoBG96]

    Ross, J.; Beath, C.; Goodhue, D.: Develop Long-Term Competiveness Through IT Assets. In: Sloan Management Review 38 (1996) 1, pp. 31–42.

  39. [Rock88]

    Rockart, J.: The Line Takes the Leadership — IS Management in a Wired World. In: Sloan Management Review 29 (1988) 4, pp. 57–64.

  40. [SaGH97]

    Saunders, C.; Gebelt, M.; Hu, Q.: Achieving Success in Information Systems Outsourcing. In: California Management Review 39 (1997) 2, pp. 63–79.

  41. [SaKr94]

    Sabherwal, R.; Kris, P.: The Alignment between Organizational Critical Success Factors and Information Technology Capability in Academic Institutions. In: Decision Sciences 25 (1994) 2, pp. 301–330.

  42. [SeAN88]

    Sethuraman, R.; Anderson, J.; Narus, J.: A Partnership Advantage and its Determinants in Distributor and Manufactuer Working Relationships. In: Journal of Business Research 17 (1988) 4, pp. 327–347.

  43. [Sedd97]

    Seddon, P.: A Respecification and Extension of the DeLone and McLean Model of IS Success. In: Information Systems Research 8 (1997) 3, pp. 240–253.

  44. [ThKe59]

    Thibaut, J. W.; Kelly, H.: The Social Psychology of Groups. Wiley, New York 1959.

  45. [Wern84]

    Wernerfelt, B.: A Resource-based View of the Firm. In: Strategic Management Journal 16 (1984) 3, pp. 171–180.

  46. [WiLa98]

    Willcocks, L. P.; Lacity, M. C.: Strategic Sourcing of Information Systems: Perspectives and Practices. Wiley, Chichester 1998.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Goles, T. Vendor capabilities and outsourcing success: A resource-based view. Wirtschaftsinf 45, 199–206 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03250900

Download citation


  • causal modeling
  • outsourcing
  • partial least squares (PLS)
  • resource-based theory
  • survey
  • vendor capabilities