Outsourcing extra-curricular activities: A management strategy in a time of neoliberal influence

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study designed to illuminate the complexity of outsourcing extra-curricular activities (ECAs) in primary schools in a time of neoliberal influence and to examine the views of teaching professionals on the reasons, issues and considerations of outsourcing ECAs such as the dynamic relations between ECA coordinators and service providers, and between teachers and parents. Design/methodology/approach: The qualitative research that informs this paper is conceptualized within the interpretive paradigm since it aims at understanding the thoughts of 20 teaching professionals including 16 teachers and four principals with regard to the outsourcing of ECRs in times of promoting other learning experiences in schools. This interpretive paradigm emphasizes naturalistic methods of inquiry. Findings: Two major themes which demonstrated the driving forces for outsourcing educational activities as well as the dynamic relationship between teaching professionals and service providers arising in the process of outsourcing emerged from the interview data. This paper illustrates that the neoliberal impact on the implementation and quality of ECAs needs to be understood as a much more complicated process shaped by the local context. Research limitations/implications: A major limitation is the small number of samples in primary schools in this qualitative study. Another area of possible investigation is the noticeable extension of the study area to the sectors of kindergartens and secondary schools. Practical implications: From management perspectives the finding carries the implication that outsourcing must be carefully planned have explicit goals and systematically implemented. Social implications: The finding enriches the understanding of how neoliberal thinking creeps into management of outsourcing ECAs in schools. Originality/value: The study does not aim at generalization of the findings but it attempts to illuminate the phenomenon of outsourcing ECAs in primary schools in Hong Kong. To support the empirical findings of the present qualitative study, it is recommended that follow-up quantitative studies be conducted, with larger sample sizes and more diverse sample groups included in the population. Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-484
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Ng, S. W., Chan, T. M. K., & Yuen, W. K. G. (2017). Outsourcing extra-curricular activities: A management strategy in a time of neoliberal influence. International Journal of Educational Management, 31(4), 470-484.


  • Hong Kong
  • School management
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Neoliberal values
  • Outsourcing


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