Contracting Out and Organizational Learning in the Public Sector

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review

Resumé

A key characteristic in the development of the public sector in the last 30 years is the expansion of engagement between public and private organizations in searches of improvement of public sector performance. Enhancement of competition has in the public administration literature been seen as the key driver for improvement. However, it is a long-standing and well-proven hypothesis in the organizational literature that organizations can also improve their functioning and performance by learning from engagement with other organizations in their environments. Yet, little is known about whether and how engagements between private and public organizations may lead to improvements in the public sector as a result of organizational learning. In this study, we propose and test the main hypothesis that engagements with private organizations through the use of contracting out facilitates organizational learning in the public sector. We review the scarce literature and elaborate a set of hypotheses concerning how different ways to organize contracting out may be related to organizational learning. Empirically we test these hypotheses on the case of contracting out technical services (park- and road maintenance) in local governments in Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden. We find that contracting out tends to enhance organizational learning in public organizations. Our findings also suggest variation in the impact depending on different ways of organizing and managing contractual relations. Emphasis on a ‘hard’ contract management style tends to diminish organizational learning while emphasis on collaborative governance, greater formalization of contractual relations, larger contract management capacities, and emphasis on learning intends all enhances organizational learning. We discuss the implications of our findings and suggest a paradox of contracting out.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato26 aug. 2016
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 26 aug. 2016
Begivenhed2016 EGPA Annual Conference: PSG VI: Governance of Public Sector Organisations - Utrecht, Holland
Varighed: 24 aug. 201626 aug. 2016

Konference

Konference2016 EGPA Annual Conference
LandHolland
ByUtrecht
Periode24/08/201626/08/2016

Fingerprint

Organizational learning
Public sector
Contracting out
Contract management
Public organizations
Enhancement
Local government
Governance
Organizing
England
Paradox
Functioning
Sweden
Denmark
Technical services
Hypothesis test
Public engagement
Roads
Management styles
Norway

Citer dette

Lindholst, A. C., Hansen, M. B., & Nielsen, J. A. (2016). Contracting Out and Organizational Learning in the Public Sector. Afhandling præsenteret på 2016 EGPA Annual Conference, Utrecht, Holland.
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Lindholst, AC, Hansen, MB & Nielsen, JA 2016, 'Contracting Out and Organizational Learning in the Public Sector' Paper fremlagt ved, Utrecht, Holland, 24/08/2016 - 26/08/2016, .

Contracting Out and Organizational Learning in the Public Sector. / Lindholst, Andrej Christian; Hansen, Morten Balle; Nielsen, Jeppe Agger.

2016. Afhandling præsenteret på 2016 EGPA Annual Conference, Utrecht, Holland.

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review

TY - CONF

T1 - Contracting Out and Organizational Learning in the Public Sector

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AU - Hansen, Morten Balle

AU - Nielsen, Jeppe Agger

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N2 - A key characteristic in the development of the public sector in the last 30 years is the expansion of engagement between public and private organizations in searches of improvement of public sector performance. Enhancement of competition has in the public administration literature been seen as the key driver for improvement. However, it is a long-standing and well-proven hypothesis in the organizational literature that organizations can also improve their functioning and performance by learning from engagement with other organizations in their environments. Yet, little is known about whether and how engagements between private and public organizations may lead to improvements in the public sector as a result of organizational learning. In this study, we propose and test the main hypothesis that engagements with private organizations through the use of contracting out facilitates organizational learning in the public sector. We review the scarce literature and elaborate a set of hypotheses concerning how different ways to organize contracting out may be related to organizational learning. Empirically we test these hypotheses on the case of contracting out technical services (park- and road maintenance) in local governments in Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden. We find that contracting out tends to enhance organizational learning in public organizations. Our findings also suggest variation in the impact depending on different ways of organizing and managing contractual relations. Emphasis on a ‘hard’ contract management style tends to diminish organizational learning while emphasis on collaborative governance, greater formalization of contractual relations, larger contract management capacities, and emphasis on learning intends all enhances organizational learning. We discuss the implications of our findings and suggest a paradox of contracting out.

AB - A key characteristic in the development of the public sector in the last 30 years is the expansion of engagement between public and private organizations in searches of improvement of public sector performance. Enhancement of competition has in the public administration literature been seen as the key driver for improvement. However, it is a long-standing and well-proven hypothesis in the organizational literature that organizations can also improve their functioning and performance by learning from engagement with other organizations in their environments. Yet, little is known about whether and how engagements between private and public organizations may lead to improvements in the public sector as a result of organizational learning. In this study, we propose and test the main hypothesis that engagements with private organizations through the use of contracting out facilitates organizational learning in the public sector. We review the scarce literature and elaborate a set of hypotheses concerning how different ways to organize contracting out may be related to organizational learning. Empirically we test these hypotheses on the case of contracting out technical services (park- and road maintenance) in local governments in Denmark, England, Norway and Sweden. We find that contracting out tends to enhance organizational learning in public organizations. Our findings also suggest variation in the impact depending on different ways of organizing and managing contractual relations. Emphasis on a ‘hard’ contract management style tends to diminish organizational learning while emphasis on collaborative governance, greater formalization of contractual relations, larger contract management capacities, and emphasis on learning intends all enhances organizational learning. We discuss the implications of our findings and suggest a paradox of contracting out.

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Lindholst AC, Hansen MB, Nielsen JA. Contracting Out and Organizational Learning in the Public Sector. 2016. Afhandling præsenteret på 2016 EGPA Annual Conference, Utrecht, Holland.