Book Review: Rural Sourcing and Impact Sourcing

Outsourcing jobs overseas is considered the norm in the rapidly growing BPO markets. But a different approach is taken now as markets evolve with time and developing technologies. The new approach followed by some firms is Rural Outsourcing. Companies have turned their focus towards finding their work force from the rural areas.

Mary Lacity, Curators’ Professor of Information Systems at UMSL has enclosed this concept within her co-written book “Emerging ITO and BPO Markets: Rural Sourcing and Impact Sourcing.” The other co-authors who helped Lacity in scripting the concept include Joseph Rottman, associate professor of information systems at UMSL, and Erran Carmel, IT professor at American University.


The New Book on Rural Outsourcing reveals how the American companies could identify skilled population from the rural areas and eventually capitalize on this. . In this context, writer Lacity said that the concept of rural outsourcing has become a major component for Onshoring or Insourcing jobs within the nation.

The book further reveals the involvement of two sourcing markets that overlap.  One being the rural sourcing and the other being impact sourcing. Here rural sourcing focuses on the location while the impact sourcing represents providing employment opportunities in areas where the scope for finding jobs is less.

With regards this concept, Rottman said that the U.S. based clients use rural sourcing to set up support or development teams that share the same human components and experience like the client firm. He also added that the global sourcing would sometimes be a concern as the latter involves cultural and time zone differences. Companies must work upon making employee relationships stronger. Hence, just by being in the same time zone, the rural sourcing concept can facilitate team building.

As part of the research for writing their book, Lacity, Carmel and Rottman referred various examples of rural outsourcing companies. The Missouri Company established by Shane Mayes was considered such an example. In the same context, Onshore Outsourcing, a company which provides software development and support to companies has 120 employees in two locations of Missouri. Over a few years, the company with its rural technology centers and support office has grown to become a multimillion-dollar enterprise.

Rural outsourcing can make the market stronger. Its main theme is to bring jobs to areas where the options are less. The process involves fewer risks and avoids extra spending which would give companies enough options within their market rather than trying to shift to overseas markets.

Impact sourcing is another rare concept followed by companies to keep the risks to minimal level. Through this process, the companies adopt a marginalized population from the rural areas where job opportunities are less. This population is then trained and employed to work for the ITOs or BPOs.

Further research suggests how rural outsourcing has helped people develop their way of living and conquer a different world which was once out of their reach. With growth rates improving year-on-year, rural outsourcing will continue its work as a development tool.

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