Service outsourcing decisions: a process framework

Suvituulia Taponen*, Katri Kauppi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to compare service outsourcing decisions between public and private organizations and against a theoretical decision-making framework to both understand differences across the sectors and to provide an outsourcing framework more suitable specifically for outsourcing (and for the public sector). Design/methodology/approach: Multiple case studies, i.e. a study of phenomena (here outsourcing process) at various sites is used as an approach. Findings: Findings indicate that public sector organizations are trailing behind private sector organizations in how the decision-making process is conducted and resourced. The authors suggest regular evaluation of service functions internally as a starting point for the outsourcing service decision-making process. Additionally, the market analysis should be done prior to cost analysis and benchmarking as the availability of suppliers more qualified than the internal process defines the make or buy decision. Research limitations/implications: The newly developed framework based on empirical evidence includes the following phases: regular evaluation of service functions, market analysis, cost analysis and benchmarking and evaluating relevant service activities. Applying the framework improves the efficient delivery of outsourced public services and brings public sector outsourcing closer to the professionalism currently present in the private sector. Originality/value: Choosing between in-house and outsourced service delivery is a fundamental decision in both private and public sector organizations. Previous outsourcing research has mostly focused on the private sector, with limited focus on the public sector’s outsourcing processes, yet understanding of the service outsourcing process is important in ensuring organizational competitiveness and cost efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-194
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Outsourcing
  • Public procurement
  • Public–private comparison
  • Qualitative research
  • Service purchasing


Dive into the research topics of 'Service outsourcing decisions: a process framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this