Exploring Green IT Adoption: A Case of a Business Process Outsourcing Firm

Exploring Green IT Adoption: A Case of a Business Process Outsourcing Firm

Alexander A. Hernandez (College of Computer Studies, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines) and Sherwin E. Ona (College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJGC.2014070102
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The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry accounts for 15% of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the Philippines annually. The BPO industry continuously improves the economic growth and performance due to the increasing investments on this sector. Given the role of the BPO sector, business activities involved on its operations share environmental impacts on carbon emission, disposal of wastes and increasing energy consumption that contributes to the environmental degradation. In this, the emergence of Green Information Technology (IT) adoption is aimed at minimizing the environmental impacts of business activities while balancing economic performance. This paper is an attempt to provide the current state of Green IT adoption in a BPO firm. The authors apply qualitative approach in collecting, analyzing and interpreting the data. The findings revealed that Green IT adoption in the BPO firm is on its emergence, Office environment practices is the most evident implementation of Green IT whereas technological factors has strong influence to the BPO firm to adopt Green IT. Thus, Green IT adoption in the BPO firm is part of their long-term objective and commitment towards sustainable business and environmental.
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1. Introduction

Business Process Outsourcing is a governance mechanism for business activities executed by a third party vendor or provider including its support services and maintenance (Gorla & Somers, 2014). In BPO, the service provider manages the business process of the client in which IT services are integrated. Thus, the BPO client provides a set of information of various business activities to the service provider, responsible for executing the process and provides results back to the client. Most of the studies have highlighted the continuous growth and potential of BPO. A study of 31 European banks revealed that most of them intend to increase their outsourcing level largely through BPO. IT outsourcing alone accounts for 65% of global outsourcing deals annually (Hirschheim et. al., 2009). Lacitly et. al. (2008) forecast the both business process and IT outsourcing will continue to grow in all global markets. In the Philippines, the BPO accounts for 15 percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the Philippines (Business Processing Association of the Philippines, 2014). Furthermore, it is one of the contributors in foreign investments, resulting to the present rank of Manila, Philippines as the 2nd outsourcing destination in the world (Munoz & Welsh, 2006; Bliss, 2011).

In spite of the significant increase of contribution of BPO sector in economic performance, the business process activities contribute environmental impacts of high carbon footprint and resource use, waste disposal and increasing energy consumption that may lead to environmental degradation. There is a growing need for innovation and awareness towards sustainable business practices (Jenkin et. al., 2010) due to the depleting environment. The challenge of responding to the environmental problems and issues such as increasing energy consumption, emission of greenhouse gas and CO2 and disposal of waste with toxic elements has changed various phases of the system businesses operate (Wati, and Koo, 2010). Given that information technology (IT) has contributed significantly to economic growth and quality of life, IT has vital role to innovate in building a green economy (Su & Al-Hakim, 2010). Melville (2010) suggests that information system (IS) can play critical roles in the organizations and environment interactions. These are roles are influencing beliefs about the environment, enabling and transforming sustainable practices and improving environmental performance (Sayeed & Gill, 2010).

Researchers and practitioners have directed towards sustainable business and environment which lead to the emergence of Green Information Technology (IT) research area. In this, Green IT is aimed towards sustainable business and environment. Green IT is “an organization’s ability to systematically apply environmental sustainability criteria to the design, production, sourcing, use and disposal of the IT technical infrastructure as well as within the human and managerial components of the existing IT infrastructure” (Molla; Cooper; & Pittayachawan, 2009). It has develop to more popular because of its potential benefits to sustainable business and environment while balancing it with economic viability and performance, especially in reducing energy consumption, minimizing greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and reducing toxic wastes in IT devices and disposal management.

The potential of Green IT adoption for Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) firm, however, has not been fully developed and utilized. Most of the BPO firms have not yet adopted Green IT. Since Green IT adoption is a nascent research area (Lei & Ngai, 2013), there is a need to provide empirical research on its adoption. There are several studies that attempt to understand factors for the adoption Green IT. There is still a debate, however, is achieved on how the potential of Green IT adoption can be totally explored. Moreover, existing studies on Green IT adoption usually adopts quantitative methods. There is a limited qualitative study on the adoption of Green IT in the Philippines.

This work presents the analysis of Green IT adoption in a Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) firm in the Philippines within the context of technology-organization-environment theory (TOE) framework using case study method. The paper aims at providing preliminary insights on different areas on Green IT and key factors influencing Green IT adoption.

To this end, the following research questions are addressed in this study:

  • 1.

    Which areas of Green IT are widely adopted in the BPO firm?

  • 2.

    What are the underlying factors for successful Green IT adoption in the BPO firm?

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