Exploring relationships of shared service arrangements in local government

Marijn Janssen (Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Anton Joha (Morgan Chambers, Hillegom, The Netherlands)
Vishanth Weerakkody (Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Publication date: 1 September 2007



Scant research attention has been given to investigating shared service organizations and in particular their relationships. The aim of this research is to investigate the critical decisions and design choices regarding the design of a shared service center (SSC) and the relationship with its users.


Using a framework developed by Kern and Willcocks published in 2000, this paper investigates the case of a shared services arrangement and its relationships in the Municipality of Amsterdam using qualitative research.


There are many mutually interrelated factors that need to be taken into account during the decision and design process of shared service arrangements. Antecedent conditions provide the basis for setting the objectives that the SSC needs to meet and determine the way the SSC is operationalized and designed in terms of its service and financial model, organizational structure, and communication mechanisms. In addition, this research also found that in practice the level of trust, cooperation and satisfaction increased between collaborating parties in a shared service arrangement when strategic choices are made in a systematic, collaborative and structured way during the decision‐making process leading to the initiation of an SSC.

Research limitations/implications

A single case study was investigated, which limits statistical generalization. Further research should generalize the findings and facilitate a better understanding of the benefits, decisions, relationships and operational aspects of shared service arrangements.

Practical implications

An essential part of any analysis and design of shared service arrangements is the relationship between the many users and the semi‐autonomous organization providing the services.


Shared services arrangements provide a solution for resource sharing among multiple users and are gaining importance in public administration as a means to innovate, reduce costs and increase service levels. There is hardly any research in the field of shared services arrangements and no research investigating the relationships among users and service providers in local government.



Janssen, M., Joha, A. and Weerakkody, V. (2007), "Exploring relationships of shared service arrangements in local government", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 271-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506160710778103

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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