Predicting Public Managers' Readiness for Contracting of Professional Services in a Changing State Government Agency

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O'Neil, Dara Veronica
Kingsley, Gordon
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The extent of work being contracted out in government and the type of work being contracted out is growing in magnitude. Government agencies wrestle with the effect this has on government operations as the daily work of many government employees is changing from that of actually conducting government work to overseeing government contractors who are now providing goods and services for government. In effect, many government employees are becoming contract managers. However, most studies of government contracting sidestep or ignore the role of individual employees in ensuring the success of contractual relationships with the private sector. Scholars in public policy are calling attention to the need to look at theories from organizational change research and apply them to the context of changing government organizations. Furthermore, organizational change theorists stress the importance of studying individuals within organizations that are undergoing transformations. Heeding this advice, this dissertation research uses the theory of readiness for organizational change from organizational change literature to develop a readiness for contracting construct to study how individual government employees respond to increasing contracting out in government. The readiness for contracting construct builds on current debates about government contracting by encompassing perceptions on the extent to which government contracting is needed and the concept of management capacity as two dimensions of the readiness for contracting construct. This study explores the relationship between readiness for contracting in the context of contracting out in government and 11 career path, involvement, and competence factors identified in the literature that may influence an individual s readiness. The results of multiple regression analysis show that an individual s readiness for contracting is positively predicted by an individual s perceptions of personal impact, information about contracting out, and management support. Results of this research support the need for more attention to be given to individual government employees in the context of government contracting from both a theoretical and pragmatic perspective.
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