This paper provides a longitudinal description and analysis of the evolving relationships between a university and vendors contracted to develop software systems. A contextualised social process model is developed and employed using data gathered over the decade-long process, focussing on the early years. The right levels of control and trust are conceptualised to lead to confidence that the development process is set on the right course. The study gives unique insights into the contractual software development process from a client's perspective together with pointers for more general applications of the findings related to control, trust, and bargaining power in customised information system development. The analysis of the data reveals how the client's actions oscillated between trust and control in three areas: performance, price level, and observed behaviour. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Information systems outsourcing
- Reflective information system practitioner research
- Relationship management