2012 Offshoring Research Network International Conference:
The Global Sourcing of Innovation

Milan, May 29-31, 2012

Organized by
Politecnico di Milano School of Management

The global sourcing of knowledge creation and 
innovation (e.g. advanced knowledge and 
analytical services, R&D support functions, 
product design and development and R&D) has been 
growing exponentially across almost every 
industry. This phenomenon has emerged as a 
strategic driver for companies and increasingly 
is attracting academic research by management, 
and international business scholars.  An array of 
different motives, including perceived cost 
advantages, growing shortage of science and 
engineering talent in most developed economies, 
recognition emerging economies will account for 
future top line growth, have all contributed to 
the unprecedented surge in global sourcing of 
knowledge intensive activities such as research 
and development across all industries and technologies.
Particularly, this conference intends to be an 
opportunity for executives and academics to 
engage and explore managerial and organizational 
challenges as well as theoretical and empirical 
contributions related to global sourcing of 
advanced knowledge and analytical services, 
product development and design, R&D support 
functions, and traditional research and development activities.
A unique feature of the conference is the 
integration of a managerial oriented day (29th 
May 2012) focusing on emerging issues such as 
latest TPI assessment of outsourcing business 
services and implications, developments across 
the EU, private clouds, cyber security, country 
and concentration risk, of concern to sourcing 
executives and providers, followed by two days 
(30th-31st May 2012) of academic research.

We welcome theoretical, empirical and qualitative 
contributions related to the following themes of the conference.

THEME A. Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of 
Global Sourcing of R&D Activities/Advanced Services
- Application of multiple levels of analysis 
(e.g. countries, industries, firms, processes 
etc.). Integration of multiple theoretical lenses 
and explanatory mechanisms that can provide fresh 
insights on the organization of global sourcing of R&D.
- Supply drives demand. The emergence of the 
global service provider industry and national 
aspirations for attracting the outsourcing 
industry as another lever of economic development 
impact on the dynamics of global sourcing in 
general and on global sourcing of high value 
services specifically. Structural characteristics 
that shape the way firms organize for global sourcing of R&D.

THEME B. The Realignment of Firm Global 
Organization Foot Print for Global Sourcing of innovation
- Design of ambidextrous organizations for 
managing boundary spanning innovation 
relationships and the role of host countries.  For example:
∑ Managerial practices that affect effectiveness 
of internal organisation capabilities for 
acquiring, and assimilating knowledge generated by external sources.
∑ Organization of multinational enterprises 
internal networks for successful exchanges with their external networks.
∑ Specific organizational challenges involved in 
the interaction of cross-border intra- and inter-firm networks.

THEME C. Global Sourcing of Innovation and Firm Performance
- Moderating and mediating managerial practices 
and cross cultural communication factors that 
impact global sourcing of firmsí economic and 
innovation performances. Role of country 
institutional configuration (e.g. IP regime at 
host country) that shapes the way firms and 
industries benefit from global sourcing.

THEME D. Small Firms and Global Sourcing of Innovation
- The dynamics and strategic drivers of small 
firms, in traditional and high tech sectors, 
engaged in global sourcing of innovation. Unique 
challenges faced by small companies in organizing for global sourcing.
- Role of venture capitalist in the innovation 
out sourcing decision of start up entrepreneurial technology companies.
- Strategies and processes of small technological 
firms in accessing international knowledge and innovation networks.

THEME E. Global Service Providers
- The competitive dynamics of the rapidly 
emerging global service provider industry.
- The challenges faced by emerging economies in 
positioning their countries as attractive 
destinations for global sourcing of business 
services and especially of high value added knowledge creating activities.


∑         Debora Card,  Partner and V.P. of 
Research, Information Services Group (ISG)
∑         Martin Kenney, Professor of Human and 
Community Development, UC Davis; Senior Project 
Director, <>Berkeley 
Roundtable on the International Economy, University of California, Berkeley.
∑         Arie Y. Lewin, Professor of Strategy 
and International Business, Fuqua School of 
Business, Duke University. Director of the Center 
for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).
∑         Vivek Wadhwa, Vice President of 
Academics and Innovation, Singularity University; 
Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for 
Corporate Governance, Stanford University; 
Director of Research, Center for Entrepreneurship 
and Research Commercialization and Exec in 
Residence, Pratt School of Engineering,  Duke 
University; Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Halle 
Institute of Global Learning, Emory University

Participants who wish to present their research 
at the conference are invited to submit an 
extended abstract not exceeding 1.000 words 
through the conference website 
no later than March 19th 2012.
In addition to individual paper submissions, 
panel proposals informing one of the five key 
themes may be submitted. Panels are complete 
sessions organized as a single submission by the panel chair.
All submissions will be peer reviewed and the 
conference organizing committee will select the 
papers/panels considering their novelty, academic 
quality and relation to the theme of the 
conference. The decision of paper acceptance will 
be communicated by April 16th 2012.

DIG - Politecnico di Milano, 

Conference fees
Early registration (before April 30th):    200 euro
Registration (after April 30th):           300 euro

Important dates
Extended abstract submission: March 19th 2012
Notice for acceptance: April 16th 2012
Conference registration: April 30th 2012
Further information at

The scientific committee
Arie Y. Lewin, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke 
University, USA; Stephen Manning, University of 
Massachusetts, Boston, USA; Silvia Massini, 
Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK; 
Carine Peeters, Solvay Brussels School of 
Economics and Management, Belgium; Lucia 
Piscitello, DIG-Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.

The local organizing committee
Federico Caniato, Stefano Elia, Davide Luzzini, 
Lucia Piscitello, Stefano Ronchi - Politecnico di Milano

Sponsoring Organizations:
The International Association of Outsourcing 
Professionals IAOP, The International Association 
for Contract and Commercial Management IACCM, The 
European Outsourcing Association, Information Services Group ISG.

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