A Lexicon of Orientation: Outsourcing and IT


Data visualisation

Subject: Outsourcing and IT
Location: Romania

This examination of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Romania is structured around two core areas of focus. The first analyses the evolution of outsourcing in the period of 1995 to 2022, emphasising the top five counties. Additionally, a heat map illustrates the workforce distribution in firms wholly owned by foreign capital for 2002, 2008, and 2012. The second area presents a detailed assessment of sectors that attracted the most FDI between 2011 and 2022.

Insights by sociologist Norbert Petrovici

2003–2008 FDI Transformation in Western Romania
Until 2003, the industrial sector of Romania faced significant challenges. Nevertheless, the first wave of FDI from 2003 to 2008 had the most pronounced impact on the Western counties, including Timiș County. These changes were largely driven by advancements in the supplier network of the automotive industry. Furthermore, in Timișoara, its highly mechanised, well-aggregated agricultural lands, and a well-integrated food industry supply chain were crucial in this transformation, drawing a significant influx of FDI.

Post-2008 Recovery and Technological Advancements
After the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, there was a significant wave of factory relocations from Western Europe, especially from supply chains centered in Germany, to Central and Eastern Europe. Romania became a prominent destination for FDI, characterised by a series of technological upgrades that resulted in the production of more advanced and complex products. Although this technological progress increased turnover, it did not correspondingly increase employment levels within the sector. In fact, the number of employees remained relatively stable, accounting for approximately one-third of the total waged workforce.

Rise of White Collar Business Services
As part of the post-2008 industrial upgrade, investments in white collar business services increased, with cities like Timișoara, Bucharest, Cluj, and Iași receiving considerable benefits. Nonetheless, Timișoara continued its unique economic growth trajectory, concentrating on engineering services and an expanding ITC sector. Although these sectors flourished, they frequently functioned independently in terms of supply and demand.

Internationalisation of Construction and Real Estate
After 2008, there was a significant increase in the internationalisation of the construction and real estate sectors, with real estate drawing a considerable portion of FDI. This internationalisation was made possible by converting former industrial sites within cities into large-scale urban reconstruction projects, necessitating substantial capital, capacity, and planning efforts, and generating high returns. Timișoara became a key destination for this wave of global capital, mainly aimed at transforming industrial sites into new neighbourhoods. However, these newly developed areas frequently lacked appropriate social services and infrastructure. Moreover, the shift towards an export-driven economy in the post-2008 period fueled growth in urban retail and logistics. This transformation aligned with the rise of the middle class and an influx of multinational companies.

AI generated visuals

./prompt: in, the, evolving, IT, sector, outsourcing, becomes, instrumental, in, reshaping, business, architectures, boundaries, shift, power, dynamics, morph, and, an, emergent, terrain, materialises, this, transformation, integrates, global, tactics, with, local, preferences, through, glocalisation, while, standardising, practices, across, diverse, cultures, highlighting, cultural homogenisation, supported, by, data centres, and, cloud services, businesses, undergo, fragmentation, redistributing, tasks, while, maximising, efficiency, networked labour, emerging, from, a, diversified, global talent pool, intersects, with, traditional, in-house productions, decentralisation, propagates, diffusing, decision-making, authority, DevOps, bridges, software, and, IT, dynamics, and, cybersecurity measures, enhance, technological dependence, the, vast, web, of, telecommunication networks, ensures, seamless, interactions, vital, in, this, digitised, framework, vendor management, refines, the, selection, and, coordination, processes, crafting, the, future, of, IT’s, outsourced, landscape



Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture.


Big Data
Automatically generated data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
Redesign for enhanced performance.


Cloud Services
On-demand computing resources for flexible outsourcing.

Captive Center
Company-owned foreign units managing certain processes.

Comparative Advantage
The ability of a country or firm to produce a particular good or service at a lower opportunity cost than others.

The ability and performance of a firm, to sell and supply goods and services in a given market, in relation to the ability of other firms or countries.

Contractual Terms and Conditions
Legal agreements in outsourcing contexts.

Core-Periphery Model
A concept derived from World Systems Theory, where core countries dominate and exploit periphery countries.

Cultural Alignment
Assessing values and beliefs for successful collaboration.

Cultural Homogenisation
The assimilation of business practices across different cultures due to widespread outsourcing.

Cybersecurity Measures
Protocols and tools to ensure data protection in outsourcing.


Data Centers
Facilities with infrastructure for hosting servers and data storage.

The act or process of moving control from a centralised point to various units. 

Practices bridging software development and IT operations.

Digital Divide
The gap between individuals, regions, or countries in terms of their access to and capacity to use IT and digital resources.

Digital Twin Outsourcing
Leveraging virtual replicas of physical assets or processes to improve and optimise operations.

Relocation of tasks to external entities. 

Distributed Software Development
The planning and managing of software creation with teams spread across multiple locations.


Exit Strategy and Contingency Planning
Plans ensuring smooth termination of outsourcing relations.


The act or process of breaking down tasks across diverse entities.


The study of the spatial, temporal, and political aspects of economies and resources.

Gig Economy
A labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

Global governance
The system of rules, norms, and actions that guide and coordinate the behaviour of transnational actors, promoting cooperation, and addressing global challenges.

Global Talent Pool
Database of international professionals available for collaboration.

Business adaptations to both local and global contexts.I


Physical components essential for IT outsourcing.

HR Systems
Software applications used to manage human resources and related processes throughout the employee lifecycle. 

Hydroelectric Energy
A form of renewable energy that uses the power of moving water to generate electricity. 


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
A form of cloud computing that provides on-demand virtualized computing resources over the internet, owned by a service provider.

In-house Production
Functions performed internally without external involvement.

Reverting to in-house operations from previously outsourced tasks.

Intellectual Property Protection
Legal measures such as patents, copyright, and trademarks to safeguard creations from unauthorised use.

Internet Connectivity Reliable connections for data transfer and communication.


Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO)
Assigning advanced tasks to experts.


An outsourcing approach in which products or services are contracted to various suppliers.


Outsourcing to geographically proximate regions.

Networked Labor
Labor facilitated by interconnected relationships and digital platforms.


Outsourcing in different geographical locations.

The procurement strategy involving external entities for tasks traditionally executed internally.


Platform as a Service (PaaS)
A cloud computing model where a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools to users over the internet. 

A system characterised by new information technologies and decentralised production.

Power Infrastructure
Stable power supply for IT operations.


The return of persons, material heritage, and/or associated knowledge to its place of origins.

Resource-Based View
A management device for determining the strategic resources a firm can exploit to achieve competitive advantage

Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategies
A process that addresses potential challenges and risks in outsourcing.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
The use of software robots or ‘bots’ to automate highly repetitive and routine tasks.


Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Agreement dictating the quality and speed of services.

Applications and tools needed for outsourcing.

Concentrating expertise in specific domains.

Staff Leasing
An arrangement that allows companies to oversee daily operations, while the outsourcing provider manages payroll, facilities, and essential resources for the staff.


Technological Dependence
Reliance on foreign providers for technology.

Technology Exploitation
The application of novel technological or scientific advancements to enhance product functionality or manufacturing processes.

Tech Stack Modernisation
The process of outsourcing the update or replacement of legacy systems with modern technologies.

Telecommunication Networks
Networks ensuring connectivity between outsourcing entities.

Testing Tools
Software and processes ensuring functionality in outsourcing.


Entities contracted for specific services or products.

Vendor Management
The process by which a corporation sources, assesses, engages, and ensures timely service delivery from various vendors.

Vendor Selection Process
Methodology to choose suitable outsourcing partners.


Data visualisations
Federico Santarini
AI generated visuals
Bianca Schink, Alex Foradori
Data sources

Petrovici, Alexe, Bejinariu, 2023. ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’