Online from: 2007
Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management
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|Title:||Characteristics of shared service centers|
|Author(s):||Veit Schulz, (Institute of Information Management, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland), Walter Brenner, (Institute of Information Management, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland)|
|Citation:||Veit Schulz, Walter Brenner, (2010) "Characteristics of shared service centers", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 4 Iss: 3, pp.210 - 219|
|Keywords:||Customer service, Private sector organizations, Public sector organizations, Resource sharing|
|Article type:||Literature review|
|DOI:||10.1108/17506161011065190 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – Even though a lot of publications focusing on shared service center (SSC) exist, there is no unique understanding of the term “SSC”. The aim of this paper is to obtain an overview of definitions of the term “SSC” and an overview of relevant literature. It also aims to derive a common understanding with the help of SSC characteristics frequently mentioned. Furthermore, it seeks to identify important differences in the definitions and show their implications for the SSC concept.
Design/methodology/approach – An extensive literature review was the basis for this research. An online database containing the most important journals had been scanned for SSC definitions. Furthermore, the most cited books had been analyzed.
Findings – There is no unique understanding of SSCs in science and practice. A standardized definition of SSCs is not established. The different definitions vary in many ways. Nevertheless, some characteristics that define the term SSC are mentioned in most publications, including consolidation of processes within the group, delivery of support processes, cost cutting as a major driver, focus on internal customers, alignment with external customers, separated organizational unit and operation like a business. Although there is a common understanding about SSC in parts, fundamental differences were identified, especially between SSC definitions for public and private sectors. These differences have several impacts on the understanding and application of the SSC concept.
Research limitations/implications – The most relevant publications have been considered, but probably not all publications with definitions of the term “SSC”. Future research must include more publications as well as the perceptions of practitioners. Furthermore, the perception of SSC management and staff has not been analyzed.
Practical implications – Owing to the fact that many different definitions for SSC exist, people dealing with a SSC are confused about the meaning of the term – confusion which is likely to result in ambiguity concerning research interpretations. The differences in definitions should be known to understand practical implications like different requirements in governance or regulation.
Originality/value – Some research in the area of SSCs has already been conducted. Nevertheless, neither extensive literature overviews of existing definitions nor comparisons of these definitions for the term SSC exist. The discrepancies in definitions and their implications have not yet been considered.
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