Multi-level knowledge transfer in software development outsourcing projects: The agency theory view

Subasingha Maduka Nuwangi, Darshana Sedera, Glen Murphy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, software development outsourcing has become even more complex. Outsourcing partner have begun're-outsourcing' components of their projects to other outsourcing companies to minimize cost and gain efficiencies, creating a multi-level hierarchy of outsourcing. This research in progress paper presents preliminary findings of a study designed to understand knowledge transfer effectiveness of multi-level software development outsourcing projects. We conceptualize the SD-outsourcing entities using the Agency Theory. This study conceptualizes, operationalises and validates the concept of Knowledge Transfer as a three-phase multidimensional formative index of 1) Domain knowledge, 2) Communication behaviors, and 3) Clarity of requirements. Data analysis identified substantial, significant differences between the Principal and the Agent on two of the three constructs. Using Agency Theory, supported by preliminary findings, the paper also provides prescriptive guidelines of reducing the friction between the Principal and the Agent in multi-level software outsourcing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems 2012 - Orlando, United States of America
Duration: 16 Dec 201219 Dec 2012


ConferenceInternational Conference on Information Systems 2012
Abbreviated titleICIS 2012
CountryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Agency theory
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Outsourcing
  • Software

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