Malcolm Gladwell “Tipping Point” and outsourcing

I read Malcolm Gladwell’s "Tipping Point" over the last summer while in India. I was impressed by Gladwell’s neat analysis of what causes rapid change. This is the tipping point kind off take-off graph. On the other hand diffusion of innovation scholars lead by the late Everett Rogers of whom I am a rather loyal follower see innovation diffusion more in terms of a gentle normal  distribution, something like this:

Innovation_adoption_curve_1_1 The problem is that some innovations simply take off like virus, with a sharp upward curve and no downslope in sight. This makes scholars like me swallow hard and look to journalists like Gladwell for some light ! The tipping point is the sharp rise of adoption with almost all people adopting something quite quickly similar to the way virus spread. Infact, it was the spread of the AIDS virus that spurred Gladwell to come out with the idea of the tipping point.

Global outsourcing is one such phenomenon. One other journalist (called Thomas Friedman) has been crying hoarse since 2005 about the impending "tipping point" in global outsourcing and business scholars like me have been arguing through papers,presentations and this blog about how Americans should deal with this phenomenon at the individual career level and how corporate American can leverage global outsourcing at a strategic level for enhancing innovation and market growth. People have started listening, slowly.

In the meanwhile, Information Week announced that Accenture CEO William Green has stated in Bangalore that India Accenture would have 35,000 employees while US Accenture will have 30,000 employees thereby having more people in India.Author Paul McDougall calls this the "tipping point" in outsourcing and I think Paul’s take is just brilliant. Company Presidents will indeed accelerate outsourcing as Paul McDougall suggests, but the question is whether American workers and managements see the global opportunities in this phenomenon? Or will companies continue not to talk about outsourcing and therefore mess up the execution and the media and public simply complain about US companies not looking after American jobs? I for one think that William Green of Accenture did the right thing and Paul McDougall did just great byat least talking about the "O" word!

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