Outsourcing in aviation technical and information technology services: A comparative study of maturity development

Jukka Holkeri


Purpose: This paper analyzes the longitudinal development of outsourcing research and practical applications in aviation technical services through a comparison with information technology (IT) outsourcing to find commonalities, differences, and trends. Although these large knowledge-intensive industry segments have different boundary conditions, they both have a long history in outsourcing.

Design/methodology/approach: Results from longitudinal expert interviews conducted in 2014 and 2020 are analyzed using a maturity model and compared to input collected from the literature.

Findings: Outsourcing in both segments follows the path indicated in the maturity model, with some variations. In aviation technical services, elements from earlier maturity stages are retained both in research and practice, while in IT, new technologies bring the focus back to elements seen in lower maturity stages. Aviation has advanced further in maturity than IT outsourcing, despite IT being a larger and more widespread segment.

Research limitations/implications: The interviews conducted were mainly with Finnish experts from internationally operating organizations. However, the possibility of geographical bias is considered small, as practices in both studied segments are truly international.

Social implications: Well-functioning outsourcing is an essential part of modern organizations’ strategic set-up. Understanding the longitudinal development patterns helps both vendors and clients to prepare and adapt for the future.

Originality/value: Maturity models have not previously been used for a longitudinal study of outsourcing development. Comparing outsourcing in two large segments contributes to understanding of the effects of regulation, differing client preferences, and innovation.


Outsourcing, maturity development, aviation, technical services, information technology services

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3926/jiem.3697

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience