Enabled by globalization, trade liberalization and new information & communication technology, Western firms are now offshoring to low-cost countries like China , India , and Ukraine .  Offshoring is both an opportunity and threat, and is now taking on new forms. One now speaks about a "second wave" of offshoring; white-collar business service activities (software programming, accounting & finance, help-desk, call centers, legal and medical analysis, etc.). Hence, some argue all value chain activities of Western firms are now subject to large-scale offshoring- with the possible exception of the knowledge-intensive activities of innovation and management.

Can we foresee a third wave of offshoring, where all jobs of "symbolic analysts" in Western countries are candidates for off-shoring, as is currently the case of blue and white-collar jobs?  What are the firm-specific antecedents of offshoring knowledge intensive activities? How do these antecedents differ between large and small firms? This presentation will suggest a research program and a set of hypotheses on what makes knowledge intensive work “offshore-able”.


Volker Mahnke Ph.D. is Professor of Technology Innovation and Strategy at Copenhagen Business School , Denmark . His research on strategy, innovation and outsourcing has been published in by Oxford University Press, and numerous academic journals such as Management International Review, Organization Studies, Journal of Business Studies, Journal of Management and Governance, Industry and Innovation, Informing Science and Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings . He is considered a leading expert on offshoring.