Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Information and Process Management

First Advisor

Jane Fedorowicz

Second Advisor

Samuel Woolford

Third Advisor

Balaji Sankaranarayanan

Fourth Advisor

Diane Strong


This dissertation provides interdisciplinary insights into the role of client's internal collaborative experience in managing communication during a complex outsourced project, building a quality client-vendor relationship and ultimately achieving success in the project. Each of the three studies in this dissertation identifies a gap in existing scholarship and proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda.

The first essay advances the development of the public sector IT outsourcing (ITO) inquiry by consolidating the existing research into an analytical framework and validating a part of the framework with rich qualitative data collected from collaborative initiatives of public safety agencies ("Public Safety Networks", or PSN). The unique collaborative nature of the PSNs is further used to explore the hypothesized connection between the communication within an outsourcing client and the client's communication with the vendor.

This connection is further investigated in the second essay. The proposed theoretical model makes a unique contribution to the literature by linking different types of communication in an outsourcing organization. Development of a measurement instrument using the boundary spanning conceptual approach and validation of this instrument with survey-based data make an important contribution to the methodology of boundary spanning research.

The third study draws on auditing and IS literature and proposes that communication tools used during an outsourced project also fulfill internal control functions, such as risk assessment and performance monitoring. The usefulness of various tools for different control purposes, as well as the effect of project complexity and contractual specifications, is tested with field data collected through an online survey instrument.

Findings from the three dissertation essays confirm the connection between internal communication in a client organization and its outsourcing behavior. Different tools and practices are found to be better suited for different purposes, depending on a number of factors such as a project's complexity, project phase and contractual specification of a particular communication practice. Data analysis confirms the argument of the previous boundary spanning literature that conscious enactment of communication and control practices is critically important for their effectiveness. Finally, this work supports the theoretical premise that pre-project communication practices contribute to the quality of project related communication.