Reaping the Fruits of Contracting out through Governance, Organization and Management: An Empirical Exploration of Local Governing Practices

Eva Sørensen, Jacob Torfing


So far, the impact of local governing practices on the likelihood that municipalities will reap the potential fruits of contracting out has only received scant attention. To fill this gap, this article explores the governing practices of local municipalities in order to determine whether or not they match the forms of governance, organization and management that are generally assumed to be conducive to obtaining the desired results of contracting out. Based on a systematic literature review and an explorative empirical case study, we propose a number of conjectures about what seems to work in terms of ensuring positive outcomes from contracting out. The conjectures are compared with the results of a nation-wide survey designed to assess whether or not local municipalities in Denmark are doing what they are supposed to be doing. The empirical analysis shows room for improvement, prompting a discussion of the future prospects for governing contracting out through particular forms of governance, organization and management.

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