Accounting organizations and society vol:24 issue:4 pages:363-369
The accounting literature has argued that firms overengage in outsourcing because they tend to ignore the transaction costs involved in buying services from external suppliers. A field experiment with managers of health care organizations shows that decision makers are actually quite sensitive to the asset specificity associated with the "buy" option in an outsourcing decision. However, they also appear inappropriately sensitive to the sunk costs inherent in most real-life outsourcing decisions, and may actually underengage in outsourcing. Prior commitment to internal procurement systematically reduced the willingness to outsource, relative to a pure "make or buy" scenario. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.