PURPOSE : The purpose of this study is to empirically quantify the factors that are perceived to drive or inhibit performance of information technology (IT) outsourced employees from a range of information technology outsourcing (ITO) stakeholders in South Africa.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : The first phase was a qualitative study on 19 stakeholders focussed on the development of the constructs. The second phase was quantitative, with a sample of 116 ITO stakeholders of the largest IT company in South Africa.
FINDINGS : The study revealed that the ITO stakeholders had misaligned perceptions on inhibitors and somewhat congruent perceptions with regards to drivers of performance. Managers and poor performers’ perceptions of inhibiting factors of performance were significantly different. The empirical evidence showed that the key drivers of performance were intrinsic factors and leadership, whilst the inhibiting factors were mainly related to poor leadership.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS : The major limitation was that the population was represented by one large organisation in the South African IT industry and its clients, thereby excluding the rest of the IT industry participants, specifically the medium and small IT companies. The quota sample resulted in a non-probability study, and thus, the results of this study may not necessarily be generalised to other populations. This study’s findings on differences between good and poor performers must be investigated in other industries.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS : For outsourced employees to perform optimally, some key intrinsic factors must be fulfilled. Passion and pride, aligned to a meaningful job role, will unleash outstanding performance. Organisations need to ensure that there is regular feedback to managers on their performance and subsequent leadership development. Alignment of managers and poor performers’ perceptions on drivers and inhibitors could improve performance.
SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS : These findings demonstrate the large gap in perceptions about the key drivers and inhibiters of performance.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE : The study reveals that top performers tend to have higher order and intrinsic motivators, compared to poor performers, who have a mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic needs, and managers have a misaligned expectation of extrinsic motivators.