The Impact Of Cultural Differences On Contracts Between Public Sector Police Forces And Private Sector Organisations

Harper, A. L. (2007). The Impact Of Cultural Differences On Contracts Between Public Sector Police Forces And Private Sector Organisations. Student dissertation for The Open University module M801 MSc in Software Development Research Dissertation.

Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.



The last 30 years have seen many public sector organisations outsource their information systems to other suppliers. The initial driver behind this outsourcing, “Compulsory Competitive Tendering“, focused on cost and efficiency. Latterly “Best Value” has replaced this requiring instead continuous improvement in a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Despite a growth in outsourcing, both trade and academic publications report a significant number of failed contracts. While there is no single cause for these failures, a breakdown in relationships is reported as a frequent factor. While it is acknowledged that a relationship comprises a number of different elements this dissertation concentrates on organisational culture. Specifically this dissertation explores the impact and management of organisational cultural differences that are identified when public sector Police Forces engage in a contract process with the private sector. This investigation was achieved through the use of a questionnaire, interviews and the participant observation of a formal tender process. The results identify that the UK Police Forces do not experience the high percentage of failures as reported generally. The formal tender processes used are seen to be adequate at ensuring a successful contract where success is measured against hard values such as cost and quality. The importance of understanding each other’s values is recognised and also the importance of a good customer – supplier relationship. It has been identified that where organisational cultural differences are identified early in the tender process the contract is more likely to have a successful outcome.

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