A Process View on Complementarity and Substitution of Contractual and Relational Governance in Information Systems Outsourcing Relationships < Back

Governance of information systems (IS) outsourcing projects relies on both contractual and relational governance. For their effective combination, it is essential to understand their relationship, i.e., whether they complement or substitute each other. Prior research has mostly investigated the relationship in a static way. However, contractual and relational governance change considerably during IS outsourcing projects, suggesting that their relationship may also change. We seek to enhance current understanding of how and why complementarity and substitution form over time. Based on an in-depth analysis of four IS outsourcing projects, we develop a process model that extends the static view of complementarity and substitution. We find four distinct patterns, characterized by different triggering events and adaptation processes, leading to complementarity and substitution. Most importantly, our findings show that while change from complementarity to substitution may be the consequence of contextual triggers, substitution also forms as a consequence of preceding complementarity.

Speaker: Thomas Fischer, University of Bern

Coordinator: Prof. Evgeny Kaganer

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