Solving Conflicts in IT Outsourcing

11 februari 2016

By Marco Gianotten

Unconventional wisdom to solve conflicts in IT outsourcing is hard to find in IT management books. I found some answers after reading Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, a famous neurologist, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor.

Frankl describes his life in the concentration camps and how people tried to survive in these extremely unhuman conditions. In the second part of the book he unfolds the psychotherapy he afterwards developedLogotherapy. This therapy helps to identify a person’s purpose in life and image the outcome to find meaningIn Logotherapy paradoxical intention is often used: doing the opposite to solve a behavioral problem. Afraid to stutter when feeling stressed? Start doing it intentional. After reading the book – and being overwhelmed by it at first – I later on imagined the use of Logotherapy for positive mediation in IT outsourcing. 

To solve a conflict between two organizations intervention can also be paradoxical. Arbitration is paradoxical when the action seems to be self-contradictory, but in reality triggers a possible break-truth. With growing distrust in an outsourcing relations due to missed deadlines and major incidents, customers instinctively call for more and tighter controls. What would happen when you resist that urge and let down your guard by proposing less controls and more mutual understanding? To rebuild trust both parties need a shared view on what the real impact is of missed project deadlines and failing performance of mission critical IT systems. That step can be an eye-opener when you are upstream as an IT delivery unit with no view on the outcome of your work downstreamContext makes it easier to find common ground and trigger openness on the real reasons why things went wrong and how to learn from them. To be realist you first have to be an idealist envisioning the desired outcomes.