Active Priming of Cultural Stereotypes in Outsourcing Decision Making

Outsourcing decisions can be strongly influenced by country-of-origin perceptions related to destination cost and host country technological expertise. These country perceptions operate in stereotype-like fashion and tend to substitute for rational and deliberative decision making in the choice of outsourcing destinations. Managers frequently send software projects to India and manufacturing projects to China, as a routine and automated matter of course, even though numerous comparable alternatives frequently exist. The psychological concept of contrast priming for influencing judgment is developed here as a potential ameliorative measure to instantiate deliberative consideration of outsourcing decision criteria in client- supplier contract negotiations. The expectation is that priming theory will provide a managerial tool useful for increasing objective evaluations of outsourcing destinations to the general benefit of all parties involved.