Do relationships in government IT outsourcing differ from relationships in private sector IT outsourcing?

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Copyright: Rannard, Richard
Information Technology (IT) outsourcing is a common practice, being adopted in many organisations in different industries and sectors of the worldwide market. Much of the research into IT outsourcing has focused on the use of IT outsourcing within private sector organisations, with less attention being paid to the use of IT outsourcing by government and the public sector. Relationships in IT outsourcing are of interest, juxtaposed against the older contracts in IT outsourcing; contracts and relationships are complementary, not substitutes. The purpose of this Study is to understand the differences between government versus private sector IT outsourcing, focusing on relationships. The researcher developed a classification of ‘tendencies’ in government IT outsourcing, characteristics that are more pronounced in government than in private sector IT outsourcing. Relational Exchange Theory was used to structure IT outsourcing into attributes, inherent characteristics that support the performance of the relationship (Goles and Chin, 2005). The researcher conducted an online survey, completed by government IT outsourcing managers, giving responses converted into tendency-attribute ‘combinations’ and analysed using statistical tests. The attributes were calculated using differing sample sizes, as some respondents abandoned the survey part-way through. Out of sixty combinations there were eighteen that were statistically significant at the 5% level. Most combinations came from Commitment, Consensus, Flexibility and Trust attributes. There are five tendencies out of ten that were strongly associated with these combinations. Some combinations appeared as if the scores have a bivariate distribution, but no clear evidence of bimodal distribution of the demographic variables was found. The low response rate to the survey was concerning; there was bias and sampling errors, there was inconsistent interpretation of the constructs, and there were respondent concerns about confidentiality. There is a need to investigate the four attributes, the five tendencies, and the demographics.
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Rannard, Richard
Stevens, Ken
Land, Lesley
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