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Application of resource dependency theory and transaction cost theory in analysing outsourcing information communication services decisions: A case of selected public university libraries in Kenya

Naomi Wangari Mwai (Kenya Polytechnic University College, Nairobi, Kenya)
Joseph Kiplang’at (Department of Library, Records Management and Information Studies, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya)
David Gichoya (Department of Library, Records Management and Information Studies, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 3 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to establish how resource dependency theory (RDT) and transaction cost theory (TCT) can inform decisions to outsource ICT services by public university libraries in Kenya.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a multiple case study strategy in four selected public universities libraries in Kenya. Purposive sampling was used to identify respondents and data collection was done using a semi-structured interview schedule.

Findings

The study highlights how RDT and TCT theoretical perspectives illuminate some of the reasons, and problems associated with Information and Communications Technology outsourcing in Libraries. The paper concludes with recommendations and the way forward.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to the outsourcing of information technology services in four public university libraries in Kenya, namely, Kenyatta University (KU) in Kahawa, Nairobi; Moi University (MU) in Eldoret; University of Nairobi (UON) in Nairobi; and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja, Thika. This being a qualitative study (and taking into consideration the subjective views where bias could occur), the researchers ensured that the research was reliable by recording and taking notes during the interviews and by using peer-debriefing and professionals in the field to ascertain their views.

Practical implications

The paper provides practical insights into outsourcing of Information Technology (IT) services in Public University libraries and information centres in Kenya. This study is useful for university libraries, information professionals, information communication technology professionals and university management.

Social implications

The implications of the study are that outsourcing needs to be guided by clear policies that are documented and communicated to all the stakeholders.

Originality/value

This research assesses IT outsourcing services in selected public academic libraries in Kenya.

Keywords

Citation

Mwai, N.W., Kiplang’at, J. and Gichoya, D. (2014), "Application of resource dependency theory and transaction cost theory in analysing outsourcing information communication services decisions: A case of selected public university libraries in Kenya", The Electronic Library, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 786-805. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-09-2012-0112

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited