In recent times, offshore outsourcing of Information Technology (IT)
products and services, including software development and
maintenance activities, has been an issue of much controversy in the United
States, with popular sentiment being against outsourcing in the mass media. Is
offshore outsourcing really bad for the US economy? If yes, why did so many US
companies, including IT companies, start outsourcing to begin with and still
continue to do so? For that matter, why doesn’t the federal government simply
ban it as a national policy? To provide some possible answers to these
questions, this paper examines the issue of offshore outsourcing from the
perspectives of international trade theory and the unique cost characteristics
of “information goods”.
The measurement of productivity
and efficiency of activities in the Swedish construction sector is examined.
Understanding past and present levels of productivity is necessary to steer
emerging and future developments aimed at increasing efficiency of
construction. The absence of purposeful measurement methods and tools for
determining current and targeted levels of productivity creates confusion for
clients, designers, constructors and end-users, who are unable to make confident
forecasts of costs and revenues or benefits over project life cycles. The
findings of an investigation using panels of expert practitioners guided by
senior researchers revealed shortcomings in the understanding of factors of driving
productivity as well as uncertainty over where improvements might be achieved.
The significance of the findings is that methods and tools must be calibrated
to current and emerging construction practices and their technical bases rather
than continuing with measurements that were conceived for earlier processes and
products. The paper concludes with an outline of further research aimed at
improving self-learning in regard to both process and product as part of a
broad response to raising efficiency through innovation.