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Public procurement for innovation and civil preparedness: a policy-practice gap

Isabell Therese Storsjö (Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Hlekiwe Kachali (Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research (HUMLOG) Institute, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to give a deeper understanding of public procurement for innovation and civil preparedness. The paper focuses on how the policy goals of innovation and preparedness are implemented in procurement practice, and explores the issues that affect innovation- and preparedness-oriented procurement.


The study is exploratory and based on empirical data from semi-structured interviews with 92 informants in the healthcare, energy and water services sectors in Finland. Interview data were analysed using a coding template, and further categorised to answer the research questions.


The study brings to light how procurers perceive the different but overlapping policy goals of innovation and preparedness, and whether and how the policy goals are turned into outcomes in the procurement process.

Research limitations/implications

The data were collected from case sectors in Finland. However, considering the adoption of European Union legislation, some of the findings are generalisable in other sectors, organisations and countries.

Practical implications

The paper highlights aspects that can aid procurers, suppliers and policy-makers in understanding how public procurement can be an instrument linking innovation and civil preparedness.

Social implications

It cannot be overemphasised that populations are exposed to more and, arguably, greater hazards. Public authorities can use innovative solutions and processes in meeting multiple objectives such as everyday societal needs as well as civil preparedness and planning.


Such research, purposely sampling case sectors providing critical services, has not been undertaken before in Finland. This work provides valuable information for organisations involved in public procurement, innovation and civil preparedness.



The authors would like to thank the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation for funding the work, “Cascading innovation upstream the supply chain through procurement processes (CAIUS)”, on which this paper is based. The authors would also like to thank Finland’s National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) for their engagement in the study, as well as all those who contributed to the success of the project.


Storsjö, I.T. and Kachali, H. (2017), "Public procurement for innovation and civil preparedness: a policy-practice gap", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 342-356.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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