Culture-Led Discrepancies and Negotiating Conflicts in Strategic Outsourcing Alliances



Outsourcing and alliance collaboration have become prominent features of the global economy. Empirical studies demonstrate that outsourcing alliances are often not as successful as their initiators expect them to be. National cultural differences are frequently viewed as a crucial factor when such alliances fail. While empirical studies are abundant, theoretical frameworks that explicate the role of national cultural differences in shaping the dynamics of outsourcing alliances are rare. This article builds on Kumar and Nti's (1998) discrepancy model to specify how culture affects the dynamics of outsourcing alliances. We suggest that national cultural differences give rise to process and outcome discrepancies in outsourcing alliances. Notably, outsourcing alliances evolve through three stages–formation, operation and outcome–with discrepancies arising in each of these stages (Das & Teng, 2002). We develop a framework to link discrepancy management to these different stages, and to the notions of task-oriented and relationship-oriented cultures. Our study has a number of implications for future research and managerial practice. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.