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In-house Off-shoring of Product Development by MNCs

Author(s): Dirk Michael Boehe

Journal: BAR. Brazilian Administration Review
ISSN 1807-7692

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: offshoring | MNC subsidiaries | product development.

This paper deals with in-house off-shoring of product development activities, here defined as the cost and efficiency motivated shifting of product development projects within the network of multinational companies (MNC) to low and medium wage countries. The aim of the paper is to develop and test a succinct model which is based on transaction cost reasoning and which explains how and why different governance forms can be combined in order to reap efficiency gains in off-shoring. The results from a structural equations model suggest support for a configuration which positively associates in-house off-shoring with local outsourcing and negatively associates in-house off-shoring with local cooperation in product development. The results are moderated by size and age of the MNC subsidiary, suggesting that larger subsidiaries are more likely to become an offshore destination and to outsource part of their product development. I argue that this combination of governance forms increases scale, flexibility and speed to market while reducing costs and knowledge leakage hazards. The results imply that the internalization theory should be extended in order to take account of off-shoring and its distinctive characteristics.
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