Thesis defense: Sari Sarome-Nykänen, Corporation transformation through network changing agents in the context of outsourcing and automation

The doctoral dissertation of M.Sc. Sari Sarome-Nykänen will be examined at the Oulu Business School on Friday 15 October, 2021 at 12 (noon).

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Linnanmaa, lecture hall TA105 & Online, Zoom

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The doctoral dissertation of M.Sc. Sari Sarome-Nykänen will be examined at the Oulu Business School on Friday 15 October, 2021 at 12 (noon). Topic of the dissertation is "Corporation transformation through network changing agents in the context of outsourcing and automation". The event can be followed remotely via Zoom.

Opponent: Professor Arto Ojala, University of Vaasa

Custos: Doctor Teea Palo, University of Edinburgh Business School

Experiences from company transformation in the context of outsourcing and automation

The objective of the research was to examine the company transformation from the perspective of experts, who are carrying transformative tasks through outsourcing and automation in an environment that is rapidly changing and is embedded with uncertainty. Also, on their relationship with the company management while executing the transformation agenda and changing the internal and external networks of the company, were addressed. Outsourcing was was selected for its commonness and applicability for various industries, allowing to reflect the past experiences onto automation as a transformation vehicle, while automation offered an opportunity to observe mainly a view to the rearrangement of a companys’ internal operations.

Regardless of the research being conducted in the field of technology, findings can be applied to other industries as a reference point. The results considered the company transformation as an opportunity if presented as such by the management of the company. Positive communication was seen as a make-or-break opportunity to the organization, to mitigate the uncertainty of the situation. Discussion on the how the transformation success looks like for the company was valued as important in enforcing the desired message and organizational understanding on the tasks ahead.

The findings indicate that transformation experts are professionals of high integrity and tolerance for ambiguity, safeguarding the organisational agenda at the turbulence of the transformation. However, they also indicate pressures for performance and successful outcomes of the transformation undertaking. Outsourcing and automation were recognized as a common practice in transforming organisations. However, both practices were suggested to need further due diligence for their usability and effectiveness in delivering the desired and realistic results, especially in the case of automation.

The results suggested also the distorting effect of the management rewards with a potential conflict to the transformation agenda and organisational benefit. This indicates a need to review the mandate of the company management in relation to their responsibility for managing and developing the company. Also, to consider alternative approaches in the objective settings and rewards associated for the benefit of the improved alignment with the demands for leadership and management of transformation. With a purpose of mitigating the emergence and influence of the alternative agendas distorting the transformation undertaking.

An opportunity for developing the relationship between the company management and transformation experts was identified, as well as opportunities in joint decision-making based on the knowledge stemming from the experts in the organization for an enhanced use.

The research is a qualitative study for a doctoral dissertation. The empirical data was collected from twenty-one expert interviews. The experts represented various nationalities, geographical locations, and several transformation undertakings in multinational technology companies. Outsourcing was chosen into the context of the study for its commonness and applicability to various industries, and automation mainly due to its use as a transformation vehicle for companies’ internal functions.

The dissertation in the University of Oulu repository

Last updated: 12.10.2021