Policymakers increasingly turn to third parties to deliver public services through outsourcing, contracting, public-private partnerships, and other market-based techniques. For scholars of public administration, the imperative is to better understand the accountability dynamics in third-party governance structures, especially those related to the contract implementation process. Professor Girth researches implementation issues and accountability challenges in third-party governance. She studies the strategies that front-line public managers utilize to manage their contracts, contract markets, and various constituencies. She examines how public managers design and implement performance incentives to motivate contractor behavior. She also analyzes inclusion policies that target underrepresented groups in order to understand the impact of such acquisition policies on purchasing agencies and suppliers.

She received her doctorate in public administration from the School of Public Affairs at American University. She has a Master of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University, where she specialized in management decision making. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration and policy from Oakland University.

For over a decade, she worked, taught, and studied in Washington, D.C. Prior to her academic appointments, she was a manager in a global management consulting firm overseeing information technology transformation initiatives for clients such as the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development. She is an expert in project management and she has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2004. Her career began with an internship in Michigan state government that later turned into her first full-time job. She worked in both the executive and legislative branches, and among other activities, advanced policy initiatives associated with disability, civil rights, and women’s issues.

Her research on government contracting and accountability challenges in third-party governance is published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, the Journal of Supply Chain Management, Public Administration Review, International Public Management Journal, and Administration & Society, among other outlets. Her research on federal contracting has been funded by the U.S. Department of the Navy and the National Center for the Middle Market, where she is also a Fellow (2016-18). She was awarded the 2011 Leonard D. White Award for the best dissertation in public administration from the American Political Science Association.

She teaches public management courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. She teaches Public Management (3500) and Leadership in Public and Nonprofit Organizations (2130) to undergraduates. In 2016, she was honored to receive the Glenn College outstanding undergraduate teaching award. In the graduate program, she teaches one of the public management capstones, Strategy for Public Organizations.

She was recently named co-editor in chief for the Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation and is on the editorial board for Perspectives on Public Management & Governance. She is involved with a number of professional associations. Of mention, she is on the Executive Committee for the Public and Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management, and she is actively engaged with Academic Women in Public Administration, a grassroots movement to advance gender issues in the field.

Areas of research

  • Accountability and third-party governance
  • Design and implementation of performance incentives
  • Front-line management decisions in contract management
Adam Eckerd and Amanda M. Girth. 2017. Designing the Buyer–Supplier Contract for Risk Management: Assessing Complexity and Mission Criticality. Journal of Supply Chain Management 53(3): 60–75.

Amanda M. Girth. 2017. Incentives in Third-Party Governance: Management Practices and Accountability Implications. Public Administration Review 77(3): 433–444.

Alicia C. Bunger, Yiwen Cao, Amanda M. Girth, Jill Hoffman, and Hillary A. Robertson. 2016. Constraints and Benefits of Child Welfare Contracts with Behavioral Health Providers: Conditions that Shape Service Access. Administration and Policy in Mental Health 43(5): 728-739.

Randall S. Davis, Amanda M. Girth and Edmund C. Stazyk. 2016. The Social and Technical Determinants of Perceived Contract Performance: Rules, Autonomy, and Ethics. Public Performance and Management Review 39(3): 728-755.

John D. Marvel and Amanda M. Girth. 2016. Citizen Attributions of Blame in Third-Party Governance. Public Administration Review 76(1): 96-108.

Amanda M. Girth. 2014. What Drives the Partnership Decision? Examining Structural Factors Influencing Public-Private Partnerships for Municipal Wireless Broadband. International Public Management Journal 17(3): 344-364.

Amanda M. Girth. 2014. A Closer Look at Contract Accountability: Exploring the Determinants of Sanctions for Unsatisfactory Contract Performance. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 24(2): 317-348.
Professors Amanda Girth and Trevor Brown have been awarded a research grant from the National Center for the Middle Market at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. In this study, Girth and Brown will examine the barriers to competition, purported disparities, and structural policy effects that impede middle market firms’ ability to compete for federal contracts. Small firms benefit from set asides and other programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and large firms have internal capacity, scale, and extensive past performance history to compete in the public procurement. Yet mid-size firms are essentially left out – they are too big to qualify for set asides and do not have parity with large firms against whom they are competing for procurements. Girth and Brown analyze both the supply-side and demand-side of the federal procurement market to determine the implications of this purported disparity for mid-size firms. Girth and Brown will be named Fellows of the National Center of the Middle Market.

Dr. Amanda Girth has received a $92,180 research grant from the Naval Postgraduate School Acquisition Research Program, awarded by Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center San Diego. Girth will lead this research project to assess whether financial incentives produce better contracting outcomes and examine the factors contributing to (or hindering) contract performance. The study tests theories of incentive design, forges new ground in contract implementation, and contributes to the body of knowledge on the research and practice of procurement. Click here to learn more about the Naval Postgraduate School Acquisition Research Program.

A new study by Professor Girth finds process, discretion, and dependency help government contractors avoid sanctions for poor performance. Most local government agencies rely on outside contractors to provide goods and services to citizens. But, what do the managers of agencies do when the contractor fails to meet the terms of their contract? Dr. Girth looks beyond the terms and conditions of the contract to the front lines of contract management by assessing whether and how severely managers sanction contractors for poor performance. »Click here to learn more

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