The economic efficacy (in terms of cost and quality outcomes) of outsourcing IT services and cleaning services by large Australian companies and government business enterprises

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Alan Brown


On-shore outsourcing has been common in Australia for a number of decades across a range of business services in both the public and private sectors. Given this, there is less literature examining Australian on-shore outsourcing than one would reasonably expect. Whilst the literature examines the general motives for organisations to outsource and the economic effects of outsourcing for those organisations, it generally does not examine whether there are any differences in the motives, management strategies and techniques, and economic outcomes associated with the outsourcing of high skill functions compared to the outsourcing of low skill functions. The literature also devotes less attention than may be expected to the role of managerial strategy in determining the economic outcomes and relative successes of outsourcing projects. This study aims to contribute a bounded examination of these issues to the academic literature, by presenting an in-depth comparative investigation of the on-shore outsourcing of (high skill) IT services and (low skill) cleaning services by large Australian Government Business Entities (GBEs) and private sector companies, from each organisation’s decision to outsource to the end of their outsourcing lifecycle (relationship). The study will;

  • identify and explain any differences (or lack of differences) in the cited motives for Australian GBEs and companies to outsource IT and cleaning services;
  • discuss the economic impact of outsourcing decisions upon these GBEs and companies;
  • examine the strategies used by those organisations in outsourcing cleaning and IT services, and the effects of these chosen strategies upon the economic outcomes of outsourcing for each organisation; and
  • explain any differences (or the lack of difference) between the economic outcomes of outsourcing cleaning and IT services.

The study was conducted over a number of years, using a triangulated mixed methods design involving thirteen case study organisations (with in-depth semi structured interviews with a large number of primary interview subjects at each case study organisation site) and data triangulation using corroborative interviews, company and public records, service provider records, service provider (corroborative) interviews, and focus group data.

LCSH Subject Headings

Contracting out - Economic aspects - Australia

Information technology - Contracting out - Australia

Buildings – Cleaning - Contracting out - Australia

Access Note

Access to this thesis –the full text is not available by author's request. Email request to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.