Outsourcing Non-educational Services in Higher Education


This study sought to determine the following: (1) the extent to which public four year colleges and universities were outsourcing certain non-educational services; (2) the level of satisfaction with outsourced services among chief business officers; (3) the level of cost savings that chief business officers were interested in achieving as a result of outsourcing; (4) which factors influenced the chief business officer's decision to outsource; (5) how selected employee issues affected outsourced service units; and (6) the perceptions of chief business officers as to the advantages, concerns, and future of outsourcing in higher education. The four-page survey instrument as it was finalized by the researcher was composed of four parts which included: outsourced service functions and satisfaction; influential factors and employee issues; the advantages, concerns, and future of outsourcing; and cost factors related to outsourcing in higher education. The survey was mailed on February 4, 1997, to 467 chief business officers in public four-year institutions across the United States whose institutions were members of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). A response rate of 64.5% resulted from 301 usable survey instruments having been returned by chief business officers. Results from the study suggested that the majority of public four-year institutions were outsourcing non-educational services. Specifically, only 5% of institutions had not outsourced services on their campuses. The data suggested that institutions were satisfied overall with those outsourced services, that institutions were entering into outsourcing agreements on a long-term basis, and that few outsourced services had reverted in-house. The results further indicated that chief business officers were influenced more in their decisions to outsource by the potential for improvement of the service than by cost savings. Though cost factors were not of highest importance, they also played a major role in the decision to outsource. The data suggested also that the majority of employees in outsourced service units were not displaced as a result of outsourcing, and other employee issues such as morale problems and employee and union resistance to outsourcing did not present serious difficulties for institutions when outsourcing. Finally, the results indicated that outsourcing of non-educational services in public four year institutions would likely continue to increase.


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Graduation Date





Lynn, Mary Ann


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Services




196 p.



Length of Campus-only Access


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Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Education; Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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