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Journal articles (2013), Journal of Management Information Systems, 30 (3), pp. 81-114

A Process Model of Complementarity and Substitution of Contractual and Relational Governance in IS Outsourcing

Huber Thomas L. , Fischer Thomas, Dibbern Jens, Hirschheim Rudy

This paper develops a process model of how and why complementarity and substitution form over time between contractual and relational governance in the context of IS outsourcing. Our analysis identifies four distinct process patterns that explain this formation as the outcome of interaction processes between key elements of both contractual and relational governance. These patterns unveil the dynamic nature of complementarity and substitution. In particular, we show that the relationship between contractual and relational governance oscillates between complementarity and substitution. Those oscillations are triggered mainly by three types of contextual events (goal fuzziness, goal conflict, and goal misalignment). Surprisingly, substitution of informal control did not occur as an immediate reaction to external events but emerged as a consequence of preceding complementarity. Thus, our study challenges the prevailing view of an either/or dichotomy of complementarity and substitution by showing that they are causally connected over time. Link to the article

HUBER, T.L., FISCHER, T., DIBBERN, J. and HIRSCHHEIM, R. (2013). A Process Model of Complementarity and Substitution of Contractual and Relational Governance in IS Outsourcing. Journal of Management Information Systems, 30(3), pp. 81-114.