Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science


The specter of increased taxes casts a dark shadow upon the American landscape. At the same time public satisfaction with schools, public housing, crime, and infrastructure is on the down turn. The negative perception of public agencies as bureaucratic, inefficient, and wasteful is all the more pronounced when compared to the popular refrain lauding the virtues of the private sector. To stem the mounting inequities of public agencies law makers, think tanks, and members from every facet of society have suggested the expansion of private sector contracting into schools, public agency management, health and human services, police and fire, and here‐to‐fore unseen and untested service areas.

As privatization and contracting out gains traction, both public administration and business scholars have generated an impressive body of work examining contracting out and the private sector; unequivocally lauding or decrying public sector contracting. “With 1400 journals and magazines, 6000 non‐serial publications and international thesis ‘Literally one can find what one wants to find’” (Hodge, 1999, 489).

Despite the irreconcilable postulations of contracting experts there are undeniable success and dismal failures in public sector contracting. The purpose of this paper is to identify key factors that lead to successful contracting thereby arming public administrators with the tools and knowledge designed to critically and rationally support or oppose potential contracting expansions in their agencies.