Agents or stewards?: exploring how perception influences the relationship and performance between the government and research contractors at DOE federal laboratories
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Type of Work206 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
United States. Department of Energy. Office of Science
Public managers face the challenge of the continued need to outsource public services to contractors while managing the contractors in a manner that ensures achievement of the contract goals and objectives and the agency’s mission. These contractual relationships are based upon principal-agency theory, where the government serves as the principal and the contractor is the agent. Using agency and stewardship theories as the theoretical framework, this research explores how the perceptions of the government and the contractor influence the contractual relationship and performance management. Using the DOE Office of Science federal laboratories, this research utilizes qualitative approaches to explore the government contractor relationship for the purposes of gaining a greater understanding of how the perceptions of individuals in leadership roles for both the government and the contractor influence the contractual relationship. The findings suggest that the relationship is perceived and recognized to exist at a high level as agency but can vacillate in various aspects between degrees of agency and stewardship. By exploring the actual perceptions and experiences of these individuals, information can be gained about how to effectively manage the relationship. This information can be utilized by public managers to establish performance management systems that are likely to achieve agency goals and objectives and provide better contractor performance.