Adopting shared services in a public-sector organization

Frank Ulbrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to combine translation theory with aspects of socio-technology and systems theory to study the adoption of shared services in a public-sector organization. The paper aims to involve the process of translating the shared-services idea in concert with people and policies, both in terms of inputs and outputs. Design/methodology/approach – An interpretive case-study strategy was applied. Findings – The mutual impact of process, people, and policies shed light on what influences the adoption of the shared-services idea. The translation process considers different people and policy aspects, transforming the idea into a specific configuration that reflects the organization's individual conditions. Research limitations/implications – The in-depth case study enables better understanding of the adoption of shared services at an organizational level. The paper enriches previous research on the translation of management ideas. It is limited to the extent that it focuses on one particular case, which restricts the possibilities for a wider generalization. Practical implications – The paper indicates a lack of national policies to embrace the shared-services idea fully at the studied organization. The paper can aid governments in paving the way for the adoption of management ideas in public-sector organizations. Originality/value – The paper extends previous research on the adoption of management ideas and, especially, how the idea of shared services is adopted. It illustrates the translation process, how this process shapes personal and factual outcomes, and what this means for the adoption of the shared services idea at an organizational level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-265
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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