Purpose– The aim of this paper is to establish how resource dependency theory (RDT) and transaction cost theory (TCT) can inform decisions to outsource ICT services by public university libraries in Kenya. Design/methodology/approach– The study adopted a multiple case study strategy in four selected public universities libraries in Kenya. Purposive sampling was used to identify respondents and data collection was done using a semi-structured interview schedule. Findings– The study highlights how RDT and TCT theoretical perspectives illuminate some of the reasons, and problems associated with Information and Communications Technology outsourcing in Libraries. The paper concludes with recommendations and the way forward. Research limitations/implications– The study was limited to the outsourcing of information technology services in four public university libraries in Kenya, namely, Kenyatta University (KU) in Kahawa, Nairobi; Moi University (MU) in Eldoret; University of Nairobi (UON) in Nairobi; and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja, Thika. This being a qualitative study (and taking into consideration the subjective views where bias could occur), the researchers ensured that the research was reliable by recording and taking notes during the interviews and by using peer-debriefing and professionals in the field to ascertain their views. Practical implications– The paper provides practical insights into outsourcing of Information Technology (IT) services in Public University libraries and information centres in Kenya. This study is useful for university libraries, information professionals, information communication technology professionals and university management. Social implications– The implications of the study are that outsourcing needs to be guided by clear policies that are documented and communicated to all the stakeholders. Originality/value– This research assesses IT outsourcing services in selected public academic libraries in Kenya.
The Electronic Library – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 3, 2014