Three shortcomings in existing information technology (IT) governance research are identified: an overemphasis on implementation rather than principles, a focus on the individual organisation rather than the relationships between organisations and a tendency to divorce the technology from the activities that rely on it. A governance framework comprised of the overarching principles of direction and control is proposed and it is suggested that these principles can be delivered through a focus on performance, conformance, openness and transparency, responsibility and accountability, and evaluation and monitoring. The importance of outsourcing as a form of inter-organisational relationship is highlighted and three case studies of different types of outsourcing arrangement conducted to test the usefulness of the framework. The results suggest that organisations recognise the importance of effective governance to the success of their relationships, that designing appropriate governance for relationships is complicated by factors such as the need to accommodate the disparate requirements of the parties involved and that the framework proposed appears to capture the essential areas.