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Shared service strategies in local government – a multiple case study exploration

Bjoern Niehaves (European Research Center for Information Systems, Muenster University, Muenster, Germany)
Andreas Krause (Best Practice Consulting AG, Muenster, Germany)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 3 August 2010



The paper seeks to investigate into the shared services phenomenon in the context of government reforms. It especially aims to address the emergence and shaping of shared services. The paper seeks to develop the notion of shared service centres (SSCs) and shared service networks (SSNs).


An interview‐ and document analysis‐based multiple case study was conducted in Germany. The qualitative analysis covered two shared service projects on the local government level.


Important preconditions for shared service emergence are identified, including cost pressure as motive, the existence of key actors as well as the existence of prior cooperation. Moreover, the paper provides evidence that the structure of previous cooperation exerts influence on if shared services are organized in a centralised (SSC) or decentralised format (SSN).

Research limitations/implications

The case selection is a possible limitation of the presented study. The selected cases give an insight into the topic of shared service configuration. The findings derived constitute indicators of possible patterns, which have to be approved by further research in order to identify reliable causal relationships and improve generalisablity of the results presented here.


An insight into conditions of adaptation and shaping of shared services is given, suggesting causal relationships for further theory testing and development.



Niehaves, B. and Krause, A. (2010), "Shared service strategies in local government – a multiple case study exploration", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 266-279.



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