Spring 4-24-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Donald R. LaMagdeleine

Second Advisor

David P. Rigoni

Third Advisor

Michael C. Porter


Information technology outsourcing (ITO) is a common business practice and a widely studied topic in academic literature. However, far less attention is paid to the implications and social dynamics of executives’ pursuit of personal career achievement through the implementation of ITO programs. Focused mainly on gaining organizational power for career advancement and accomplishment, executives can create unintended consequences for their employees, their suppliers, their company, their shareholders, and their own careers.

This research focused on a large information technology outsourcing program from its inception to early implementation at a single Fortune 1000 firm. The time span covered was just over five years, which included the two years prior and more than three years of the initiative’s lifespan. The data for this study included fifty-two interviews conducted with employees and executives over eighteen months as well as my personal observations and field notes. The uniqueness of this study compared to other published research stems from my dual role as both researcher and executive at the firm throughout this work.

The data informed a grounded theory of how and why the ITO initiative unfolded as it did, while giving equal voice to the employees and executives involved. The central theoretical premises of this analysis relied on Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital, and fields in conjunction with Bruce Lincoln’s taxonomies and anomalies within social structures. The study’s analysis was further informed by Brown and Duguid’s infocentrism, Erving Goffman’s dramaturgy, impression management, and moral career, along with Thomas Kuhn’s paradigms within the structure of scientific revolutions, Jackall’s bureaucratic ethic and Harvey’s Abilene Paradox.

Analysis of the data identified the organization’s habitus as a collection of visible and shadow social practices, mental models, and organizational rules for accumulating power. The habitus shaped employees’ and executives’ behaviors toward each other and toward their ITO provider. As this study ended, the ITO initiative was in its fourth year, significantly delayed, and its chances of success doubtful.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This file may be slow to open due to its size. For best results, right-click and select "save as..." COinS