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The role of relational norms in linking inter-partner learning and IT co-sourcing performance : A study of Taiwan enterprises

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The purpose of this paper is to identify the antecedent factors that foster and sustain the development of relational norms from a social exchange process perspective and articulates the mediating effect of relational norms on the relationship between inter-partner learning (IL) and IT co-sourcing performance.


A total of 197 usable questionnaires were returned from 1,000 Taiwan enterprises. Results from a partial least squares method supported the hypothesis that relational norms serve as dependent variable (to IL) and independent (mediating) variable (to IT co-sourcing performance).


The empirical results show that IL positively effects partnership identity and collaboration, while both significantly mediate the effects of IL on IT co-sourcing performance.

Research limitations/implications

The research implications confirm that the relational norms which IT co-sourcing parties must include both attitudes and behavior simultaneously, and that IT co-sourcing will not produce good performance without both parties developing shared attitudes and collaborative behavior.

Practical implications

Relational norms can play a critical mediation role to help ensure that both parties reach their common goals successfully and prevent the risk of their effort to cooperate together falling apart. Therefore, project managers have to take account of the importance of relational norms on inter-organizational cooperation or strategic alliances.


This study creates opportunities for further cross-disciplinary studies of inter-firm co-sourcing project especially with regard to relational norms and knowledge sharing.
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Keywords: Collaboration; IT/IS management; Organizational identity; Organizational learning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Department of Information Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan 3: Department of Commerce Automation and Management, National Pingtung University, Pingtung, Taiwan

Publication date: April 8, 2019

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