Information technology outsourcing (ITO) continues to be an important market and research topic in 2016. The client-vendor relationship has been identified as one of the key driver to foster successful outsourcing engagements. But another stakeholder besides client and vendor that presumably highly influences this relationship is neglected in ITO research so far: the advisor. This research-in-progress paper propose to investigate how and why advisory services impact the relationship of clients and vendors and the project success in ITO engagements. To answer our research question, we build on principal-agent theory and social exchange theory as our theoretical lenses to explain the impact of advisory services on the client-vendor relationship. We develop our preliminary research model with three hypotheses and introduce our research design using a case study-based, mixed-method approach. Our planned outcome is a model explaining the role of advisors for improving ITO success. We conclude with an outlook about our next steps and the study’s planned contributions.

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