Assessing the Ethical Issues Found in the Contracting Out Process
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Purpose: This study is an evaluation of specific ethical dilemmas which can occur during various steps of the contracting out process. The literature shows that the issue of contracting out is one that has steadily proved to be an attractive form of alternative service delivery for local, state, and federal government. Yet, despite the widespread use of contracting out and the identification of important ethical dilemmas that can occur there exists a dearth in research examining how these two components interact. Thus, this research has a fourfold purpose: describe the steps in the contracting out process; identify key ethical concerns that arise from contracting out process; consider the connection between the contracting out process and ethical concerns; and explore the interplay of ethics and the contracting process from the point of view of practitioners. Method: Through the use of a conceptual framework descriptive categories where identified and supported. These categories where then used to develop a survey instrument. This survey was distributed to members of the Texas State University Graduate Masters of Public Administration listserv. The results were analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics. Findings: The data indicates that the ethical dilemmas identified in the literature are considered to be important concerns at most of the contracting out process steps. Overwhelmingly, however, the ethical dilemmas of Integrity and Accountability were found to be of most importance during the seven different steps of contracting out.