Investigating Investments in agility strategies in overcoming the global financial crisis - The case of Indian IT/BPO offshoring firms

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Journal of International Management


Multinational enterprises (MNEs) in the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT/BPO) sector are at the forefront of technological disruption and change, which necessitates firms to remain agile and continuously innovate their business models. This paper investigates the investments made by IT/BPO MNEs in intangible assets and the role of encouraging management and leadership practices that supports the core tenets of strategic agility at a time when the global financial crisis (GFC) occurred. Using a two phase mixed methodology, that tests three key a priori themes, first, we examine to what extent the investments in intangible assets led to the development of strategic agility (SA), which in turn led to greater technological performance over the longitudinal period 2007–2017. Second, we further shed light on the positive relationship between intangible assets and strategic agility by identifying which Indian IT/BPO groups (based on location and firm age) show greater technological performance and, third, how such groups translate deliberate investments in intangible assets that lead to SA and greater technological performance, as compared to other groups over time. Overall, our findings provide evidence that IT/BPO MNEs' past sustained investments in intangible assets paved the way for the IT/BPO MNEs to respond in an agile manner when the GFC hit.

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