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Reaching the agreement: A single case study of the process and resulting contract between one national soft drink vendor and one major university

Mary Goebel-Lundholm, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Fueled by increased costs coupled with decreased state and federal support, educational institutions have been looking for nontraditional sources of revenue. The search for financial resources is not new to higher education. However, changes in fiscal dynamics indicate changes may be more far reaching and permanent than in the past. Unless education funding is given priority over social and other programs, or constituent populations approve tax increases, tax generated support for education inevitably will continue to decline. ^ Recognizing this dilemma, public institutions of higher education seek greater benefit from alternative financial sources. One avenue increasingly pursued in recent years to broaden revenue horizons is to develop and write a contract to outsource a service. Examples of this financial strategy include outsourced housekeeping services or bookstore operations, either of which might bring varying benefits to the institution. ^ This paper looked inside the process of outsource contract development to determine how the process and resulting contract either reaches or fails to reach expectations as described by the parties involved. A contract between a single national soft drink vendor and one major university is the foundation of this single case study. ^ The results of the study clearly identify the need to pursue specific courses of action in the negotiation of an outsource contract. In accordance with qualitative research the following six themes emerged; innovation, inclusion, information gathering, goal setting, maneuvering and success. In descriptive fashion the paper describes where the idea to outsource came from, who was important to include, what information was necessary, how goals were established, activities included to gain value in the process, how participants inside and outside of official communication channels attempted to influence decision making, and how the writing of the contract established a foundation against which concrete assessment is measurable. The paper compared the resultant contract with contract components as described by experts in higher education. The paper has concluded with recommendations for administrators in higher education who anticipate similar outsource activity and suggests areas for future research. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Goebel-Lundholm, Mary, "Reaching the agreement: A single case study of the process and resulting contract between one national soft drink vendor and one major university" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3176780.