Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in Global IT Outsourcing (CSER in GITO)

  • Ronald Babin

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


This thesis answers the research question: How do corporate social and environmental responsibilities (CSER) affect global IT outsourcing (GITO)? In answering this question we identified seven key trends that are directing CSER in GITO. We found that CSER in outsourcing is new and relevant, with growing interest from outsourcing providers and buyers. CSER will be driven by consumer concerns and employee expectations, which are particularly relevant for outsourcing buyers with a consumer oriented product or service, such as banks or retail organisations. The need to attract and retain employees will increase the need for CSER at outsource providers. Similarly, CSER is important to an organisation's brand reputation with consumers, employees and other stakeholders such as investors. Within CSER, environmental topics are a growing issue: the need to reduce power consumption and thereby reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from carbon-based power production. We learned of 'green-washing', the need to be suspicious of CSER claims that cannot be fully validated. This led us, and others, to suggest that due diligence is required to counter possible in-authentic CSER by GITO providers. As a method of validating CSER claims, we propose using global standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative and ISO 26000 when examining CSER at outsource providers. We examined CSER from a strategic perspective, to understand if CSER provides a long-term advantage to outsource providers. Directed by the research data and theoretical frameworks, we proposed a model of strategic and responsive CSER suggested by Porter and Kramer (2006). Responsive CSER describes the set of basic requirements that have become 'table-stakes' for GITO providers. Strategic CSER distinguishes outsource providers by providing long-term benefits that are not easily copied by competitors. By applying the strategic/responsive CSER model for GITO in a case study we developed a model that provides guidance to outsource buyers and their providers on when and how to share and collaborate on CSER projects. The key contribution of this research is a model that describes the characteristics for buyers and providers to collaborate on CSER projects to build trust in the outsourcing relationship and to create shared benefits for both parties and to society or the environment. This research applies the Porter and Kramer model to an outsourcing relationship to understand how CSER can be used to improve GITO.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBrian Nicholson (Supervisor)


  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Global IT Outsourcing
  • Outsourcing
  • Sustainability
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Cite this