Lisa Dell Kreeger, Ph.D. is a 2007 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Laurien Alexandre, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Mitch Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • S. Leigh Star, Ph.D., External Reader


outsourcing, service provider, grounded theory, dimensional analysis, situational analysis, relationship formation

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The theory of relationship formation developed in this study tells a coherent story about the relational work of service initiation in technology outsourcing. The study is focused on the contractually defined period of time at the beginning of outsourcing service delivery. As with a play-within-a-play, this work goes on primarily behind the scenes, away from the concurrent task of launching the inter-firm relationship between the client and the provider that will extend for the term of the full contract. This grounded theory study was completed over an eight-month period. The findings are grounded in interviews with 25 individuals who were actively involved in the work of service initiation. Additionally, data sources included extensive observation and access to documents and other artifacts. Data analysis was completed with the analytic processes of dimensional and situational analysis. The situational analysis describes five continuously shifting aspects of the situation that create the context, or supporting structure, for relationship formation. The dimensional analysis builds from the situational analysis to describe four deeply interrelated dimensions: (1) Helping, (2) Veiling / unVeiling, (3) Having Expectation, and (4) Responding to Turbulence. The study then presents a conceptual model of a grounded theory of relationship. It is through the enactment of this total model that relationship formation can be recognized as a vehicle for accomplishing work. An understanding that relationship formation depends on a way of recognizing and honoring the power of relationships and the role they play in supporting the everyday tasks of service initiation emerged from this work. As a result, this study does not strive to define relationship as one thing or even a group of things. Instead, it proposes a conceptual model through which relationships are formed and can be recognized as such. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible at the OhioLINK ETD Center,