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Lunchtime Seminar - How India became a hub for IT outsourcing and consulting: A preliminary assessment

Henley Live Tree
Event information
Date 7 December 2022
Time 13:00-2:30 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Price Free
Venue Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus
Event types:

You are cordially invited to attend an IBS lunchtime research seminar by Dr Matthias Kipping, York University, Toronto, Canada. Please join us in Room 108 for a cinematic experience. If you have not received the email invite please email Angie Clark.

Please note: Lunch and refreshments will be provided in Room 108, however the presentation is to be presented online.

Please make sure you let me know in advance if you intend to attend in person so that the correct amount of catering is booked.

Title: How India became a hub for IT outsourcing and consulting: A preliminary assessment

Presenter: Dr Matthias Kipping, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Date: Wednesday 7th December 2022

Time: 13.00 – 14.15 pm

Teams - A Teams link to the seminar is included for those who cannot attend in person, however attendance in person is preferred.

Abstract: While everyone talks about the Big Five tech firms (Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook/Meta, and Microsoft) or the Big Seven, if one includes Alibaba and Tencent, or marvels at how Elon Musk and Tesla transformed the automobile industry, there is an equally remarkable success story that took place around the same time but has attracted much less attention: The rise of India as a global powerhouse in the provision of IT-based outsourcing and consulting services. This includes both firms of Western, generally US origin, like Accenture or Cognizant as well as home-grown organizations like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, and Wipro, to name but the three most well-known ones. The key question is how a country, where there were but a few hundred computers in 1978 when IBM shuttered its subsidiary to escape majority domestic ownership, ends up dominating the global market for IT outsourcing and consulting four decades later.

The explanations are complex and involve numerous factors and actors, with many authors going back into the past to look for the deep roots of what appears like a miracle – pointing, among others to the establishment of world-class engineering education and profession, the supportive industrial policy by some Indian governments, or, if more a believer in the power of market forces, the liberalization after 1991, as well as the somewhat serendipitous Y2K scare. There are also many who have, not surprisingly, pointed to the role of individual entrepreneurs, with some of them laying claim to a – if not the – pioneering role in their autobiographies or recent interviews. While not discarding any of these explanations, this presentation draws on preliminary insights from an ongoing research project to suggest an additional important factor that these firms could draw on, i.e., the ambitions of the Indian middle class, and the organizational innovations and mechanisms they developed to respond to those ambitions.

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