An Ethical and Global Analysis of Software Offshore Outsourcing

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An Ethical and Global Analysis of Software Offshore Outsourcing


Before acquiring its current negative connotation, outsourcing referred to the practice of turning over parts of a business to a company that specialized in that activity. For instance, Cisco Systems, Brocade Communications, and other leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) outsource their manufacturing to Solectron Corporation, where I was a summer intern. By partnering with Solectron, OEMs can gain access to the latest equipment, process knowledge, and manufacturing expertise without making substantial capital investments. In essence, outsourcing to Solectron enables OEMs to focus on their core competencies of research and development and sales and marketing. OEMs have found that the benefits they have gained from outsourcing their manufacturing to Solectron could also be acquired from offshore outsourcing their computer programming to lower-wage countries such as India, Russia, China, and Eastern Europe. The difference lies herein at the heart of the offshore outsourcing debate; when OEMs outsource their manufacturing work to Solectron, the jobs still stay in America, but not so when they offshore outsource software programming to India. A similar debate raged in the 1980s and ‘90s, as employers pulled manufacturing jobs out of the United States and moved them to Mexico, China, the Dominican Republic and other countries where workers were cheap and regulations were loose. However, the economic boom of the late ‘90s eased the pain of those job losses. These days, the movement of low-skill jobs is so commonplace it barely sparks an argument. The latest migration of jobs overseas is more stark because it takes the most desirable positions ...

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...urce to a lower-wage country, it will be Indian politicians’ and workers’ turn to carp about foreigners taking their jobs.


1Stephen Baker and Manjeet Kripalani, “Programming Jobs Are Heading Overseas by the Thousands,” BusinessWeek Mar. 2004.



4Thottam, 34.


6Jyoti Thottam, “Is Your Job Going Abroad?” Time Mar. 2004: 36.


8Thottam, 28.

9Laurianne McLaughlin, “An Eye on India: Outsourcing Debate Continues,” IEEE 20 (2003): 115.

10Thottam, 36.

11Ernest Ferguson and Clifton Kussmaul and Daniel McCracken and Mary Ann Robbert, “Offshore Outsourcing: Current Conditions & Diagnosis,” Communications of the ACM (2004): 331.

12McLaughlin, 116.

13Ferguson, 330.

14McLaughlin, 116.

15McLaughlin, 115.

16Ferguson, 330.

17Thottam, 29.

18Thottam, 36.

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