Kontraktsstyrning i teori och praktik
Sammanfattning: The general aim of this thesis is to develop an increased understanding of contract management as a mode of governance. A specific aim has been to explore how complex municipal services are managed by contract. A framework for analysis of contract management was developed by combining elements from interorganisational theories with different perspectives, such as transaction cost theories, network theories, and sociological institutional theories. The framework was applied in empirical studies of contract management of technical services in local authorities in Sweden, England and Germany. A follow-up study was carried out after four years. The empirical findings revealed a mixture of different governance mechanisms. Competition and conditionality were combined with trust and continuity. Detailed specifications and formal contracts were combined with a flexible and problem-solving approach to variations. Local agreements were combined with standardised contract conditions. Short contracts were combined with long-term relationships. There were differences in the style of contract management between large and small organisations, between stable services and services characterised by uncertainty and risk, and between countries with different societal systems. The style of management changed significantly within four years, from a stronger emphasis on price competition and adversial pressure to an emphasis on quality and partnership. A general conclusion is that contract management can be regarded as a mixture of governance mechanisms of opposite character, creating a balance of co-operation and competition. It is proposed that formal procedures can be seen as enhancing the evolution of trust in complex relationships. This contradicts the common view of formalism as an obstacle and opposing feature to trust. The use of standard contract conditions also indicates that contract relationships are partially constructed at an aggregate level. This confirms that contract management has to be analysed in a societal context. The general change of style of contract management within four years indicates that there might be general patterns of contract management, which change over time.
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