Week 4: Operations, Strategy, and Sustainability
This course focuses on major operations-related developments and concepts that have become increasingly more popular since the 1980s. You are witnessing a revolution in management philosophies that enable rapid acceleration in business growth, aided by technology, and characterized by innovations in products and services, refinement and improved process control, and improved levels of quality output. Companies that are willing and able to rapidly respond to changes in the global market are best poised for long-term success.
You will be challenged to internalize these advances and accurately align the concepts presented with real-world application. “How do I use this?” and “Why do I need to know this?” would be good questions to ask repeatedly as we work through this course. Another question that must come to mind is “Should I use/do this?” Just because something works in one company does not mean it works for all companies. Right choices in business depend on knowing your company, knowing the idea, and being able to determine its relevance to your company’s unique situation. Outsourcing has been a hot topic in the manufacturing and service industry with strong positive and negative feelings.
Companies, such as Wal-Mart, have changed the retail industry through the use of heavily outsourced product manufacturing. This has potentially benefited poorer communities by providing products at a much lower cost, but it also comes at the cost of manufacturing jobs. With this outsourcing comes concerns about jobs leaving the U.S. In recent years, some companies are beginning to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. for a variety of reasons.
Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.
Khan, H., & Bashar, O. R. (2016). Does globalization create a ‘level playing field’ through outsourcing and brain drain in the global economy? Journal of Developing Areas, 50, 191-207. Retrieved from
Doval, E. (2016). Is outsourcing a strategic tool to enhance the competitive advantage?. Review of General Management, 23(1), 78-87. Retrieved from
Hartman, P. L., Ogden, J. A., & Hazen, B. T. (2017). Bring it back? An examination of the insourcing decision. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 47(2), 198-221. doi:10.1108/IJPDLM-09-2015-0220
Week 4 – Assignment: Complete a Case Analysis of a U.S.-Based Firm Utilizing Outsourcing (10 Points)
Assume the role of the business unit manager with overall responsibility for the outsourced function(s) of your company. Create a case analysis for the Chief Operating Officer (COO) that critically evaluates a previous decision to outsource or provide a rationale to consider outsourcing. Be sure to structure your paper in a way that clearly addresses the following five elements:
- Introduction– Summarize the internal and external factors leading to the firm’s decision to outsource the function(s) offshore. Remember, this exercise offers you the opportunity to demonstrate a high level of critical thinking in all aspects of the assignment.
- Literature Review – Identify published opinion that substantiates your support of the decision to outsource.
- Analysis– Review the decision to outsource the function offshore. Discuss potential long-term impacts of this outsourcing decision, including the impact on employees based in the U.S., quality of the outsourced product(s), and company sales, profit, and reputation.
- Synthesis– Identify and recommend strategies to move the company not only to a position of maintaining current levels of quality and sales but toward improvements in each of these measures of success.
- Conclusion–Summarize the essence of the information discussed and recommend solutions that incorporate the outsourcing decision into an overall successful corporate strategy for sustainability and implementation.
Note: If it is unfeasible to use your current employer for this assignment, you may choose another company.
5-7 pages (excluding the cover sheet, title page, and references) to cover a systematic explanation of what outsourcing is, why it was used or should be used, results of outsources, and supporting literature to sustain your position. Ensure no personal bias creeps into the assignment. This should be an objective analysis.
Include a minimum of five scholarly resources within the last 5 years that discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing, outsourcing trends, how to determine when to outsource, etc. The majority should be from peer-reviewed journals.
Your case analysis should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards. Be sure to adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.
Upload your document and click the Submit to Dropbox button.
Learning Outcomes: 1
- Analyze internal and external factors influencing sourcing decisions.