An investigation of the relationship between result variables and contract transitions in the department of energy's national laboratories and production sites
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management
Dawn R. Utley
United States.--Dept. of Energy--Public contracts., United States.--Dept. of Energy--Management., United States.--Dept. of Energy--Facilities--Management., Government research and development contracts., Public contracts--United States-
Contract reform and improvement initiatives were mandated by Congress after the Inspector General's (IG) assertion that the DOE was guilty of waste, fraud, and abuse. As part of this contract reform process, the Department of Energy (DOE) undergoes contract transitions each year. This study examines these transitions in more detail to determine which factors are critical to successful contract change. In general, employees and contract management personnel have viewed contract transitions as costly, time consuming, and disruptive. It is widely felt that, in its contract transition process, the DOE creates morale and motivation problems within the research and production community of its national laboratories and production sites. In the present study, actual data has been analyzed to determine if a set of result variables related to people, processes, and performance are changed due to contract transitions. This study also evaluates the Department of Energy's contract reform process as a whole to determine its impact on a set of result variables that are important to the DOE's specific goals and objectives. To this end, the following research questions are addressed: 1) What result variables were affected during the contract transition event in which contractors changed within a Department of Energy laboratory or production site? 2) What was the impact on the result variables after the contract transition occurred? 3) What was the impact on the result variables for the DOE Offices of Environmental Management, National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Office of Science due to the contract transition? 4) What was the impact on the result variables for national laboratories versus production sites due to the contract transition? 5) What was the impact on the result variables for contract transitions that were considered to be successful versus those that were considered to be unsuccessful? The result variables chosen for this study relate to people, processes, and performance, as they represent what the DOE considers to be important in measuring success. These variables have been compared both before and after the implementation of contract change to measure their organizational impact. The study considered all forty of the Department of Energy's national laboratories and production sites. The result variables were examined for labs and production sites that experienced at least one contract transition over the last 15 years. When looking at the entire collection of data for all DOE offices, including the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Office of Science (OS), and the Environmental Management (EM) Office, the total recordable case rate (a measure of safety performance), the nonconformance tracking system (a measure of compliance to regulatory requirements), and the comprehensive budget were statistically significant, with a significance level of 5%. The R&D 100 awards (a measure of research and development) and the notices of violations (a measure of compliance to regulatory requirements) were statistically significant with a significance level of 10%. The other result variables (patents, award fee, attrition, and occurrence reports) were not statistically changed after contract transition in any Department of Energy office.
Conner, Harold T. Jr., "An investigation of the relationship between result variables and contract transitions in the department of energy's national laboratories and production sites" (2013). Dissertations. 23.