Based on Outsourced, identify and analyze the main characters in relation to the movie's story.  Additionally, examine how the film's plot is related to international business as well as your own...

Based on Outsourced, identify and analyze the main characters in relation to the movie's story.  Additionally, examine how the film's plot is related to international business as well as your own opinions and conclusions about the film.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the primary points of emphasis in the film is the complexity within the concept of "outsourcing."  In a world where the term has become commonplace on so many levels, the film explores the intricacy within such a construct.  Todd is outsourced to India because of a lack of economic choice. If he quits, he loses his stock options.  In an economically challenging environment, Todd is motivated by financial reality.  He accepts being outsourced because he is in economic need, reflecting an aspect of both the film's story and the condition of international business. His job determines his being.  Borders have ceased to be important in the pursuit of the accumulation of wealth.  

Todd settles into life in India.  He must navigate the difference in cultural notions as well as his feelings of discomfort at being a "stranger in a strange land."  As Todd becomes less resistant to the conditions of India, he understands that there can be greater value than material considerations.  This is seen in the love he shares with Asha as well as how he views his staff.  In the film's climax, he refuses to go to China and sends his Indian replacement in his place.  The ending of the film is that Todd has returned back to the States with India imprinted on him, forever changed as a result of his experience.  Some aspects of identity cannot be outsourced out of sight.

As previously mentioned, the idea of bringing complexity to the concept of being outsourced is one way in which international business is reflected in the film.  The common setting understands "outsourcing" as something driven by economic reality.  When a company outsources, it does so to maximize profit. When individuals work in a different setting, thereby almost outsourcing themselves, they do so for profit.  On both employee and employer levels, outsourcing has become part of the globalized reality of business.  

The film brings out the complexities within such a concept. Any person who works in an outsourced setting is doing so with some propensity of alienation within them. Todd is shown to possess this condition, one where he struggles to find solidarity.  Eventually, he does so, but he is shown to be alienated when he thinks he sees a McDonald's advertisement, reflecting the estrangement that can be a part of the outsourcing process.  At the same time, the film shows that individuals are complex enough to find more motivation than the accumulation of wealth.  As seen with Todd's feelings towards Asha as well as the belief in the workers he is training, Todd comes to see his outsourcing experience as more than money. When he refuses the assignment to China, it is almost as if Todd demands that there is more to his life than the whims of corporate accumulation of wealth.  In this light, I think that the film does show more to the condition of outsourcing, reflecting depth in an aspect of being that is a part of the lexicon of international business.

In terms of conclusions about the film, it does present a Hollywood approach to the world of international business in relation to outsourcing.  Little else could be expected.  There are some instances in which India is shown to be "foreign" and "exotic," reflecting cultural stereotypes of "the other."  However, I think that the film does show that individuals can understand different cultures if they refrain from seeking to appropriate them in accordance to their own subjectivity.  When Todd is advised to do so, it is only at this point when he understands more about India, and of course, himself.  As the world is a more globalized reality, this might be an important conclusion from the film. Cultural awareness and a pluralist understanding of acceptance has to be embraced in a setting that is more heterogenous and more globalized.  Sustained personal and cultural happiness comes when we stop "resisting."  We can only simply accept what is in the hopes of making it what it can be.

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