Public buying decisions: a framework for buyers and small firms

David Mark McKevitt (Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Anthony Flynn (Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Paul Davis (Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 7 January 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore the factors that influence buyer decision-making in public procurement. The objective is to better understand the processes and conditions that support different supply arrangements, which maximise SME participation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses case study evidence of contract awards across multiple organisational contexts including: a local authority, commercial semi-state, police force, and a tourist agency.

Findings

National policy and the role of procurement exerted mixed effects upon the cases. The procurement processes were broadly similar and included cross-functional teams, consideration of trade-offs and market research.

Research limitations/implications

The paper highlights the transition of public organisations toward strategic procurement including supplier engagement.

Practical implications

This offers buyers a decision support tool that promotes equal opportunities for SME participation, a key goal of EU procurement. The implications for suppliers of each buying decision are also outlined. The concept of practical rationality is used to support the framework.

Originality/value

A normative framework of public procurement decision-making is generated from the cases. Buying complexity and supplier engagement are two conditions that support a 2×2 decision framework. The framework extends efficient and central-buying decisions to include adapted and balanced decisions. This range offers buyers a decision support tool that promotes equal opportunities for SME participation, a key goal of EU procurement. The implications for suppliers of each buying decision are discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Mark McKevitt, D., Flynn, A. and Davis, P. (2014), "Public buying decisions: a framework for buyers and small firms", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 94-106. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-11-2012-0144

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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