Abstract - The Information Society 18(2)

Outsourcing as an Improvisation: A Case Study in Latin America

Leiser Silva

This paper discusses how political factors influence the outcome of improvisations. Improvisations are unexpected actions rooted on intuition and aimed at solving particular crisis. It is argued that the effectiveness of an act of improvisation is greatly influenced by political factors. Those performing the improvisation require being in a position of power and the discourse that follows the improvisation has political connotations. The argument is developed through the discussion of concepts of power and improvisation and through the analysis of a case study. The case study concerns the outsourcing of the administrative information systems of the two largest hospitals of a Latin American country. The contributions of the paper are twofold: (1) it identifies the relationship between power and improvisations and (2) it draws practical lessons on how to manage outsourcing.

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