For the past 15 years, governments in the developed, Western world have been contracting out, or outsourcing, services as a key part of public sector reforms. Outsourcing has been argued to lead to cost savings, improved discipline, better services, access to scarce skills, and the capacity for managers to focus more time on the core business of their organizations (Domberger, 1998). Government outsourcing initiatives have encompassed a range of services, but given the large sums of money invested in IT assets, the outsourcing of IT services (IT outsourcing, or ITO) has been a major initiative for many agencies. Lacity and Willcocks (1998, p. 3) defined ITO as "handing over to a third party [the] management of IS/IT assets, resources and/or activities for required results." For public-sector outsourcing, this handover is usually made by way of a competitive tender. Case studies have reported ITO successes and failures (e.g., Currie & Willcocks, 1998; Rouse & Corbitt, 2003; Willcocks & Currie, 1997; Willcocks & Lacity, 2001; Willcocks & Kern, 1998), but much of the evidence presented to public-sector decision makers to justify this reform is anecdotal and unsystematic, and when investigated in depth, does not necessarily support widespread conclusions.
Field of Research
150302 Business Information Systems
Socio Economic Objective
890299 Computer Software and Services not elsewhere classified
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