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Five dilemmas in public procurement

Clifford P. McCue (Florida Atlantic University.)
Eric Prier (Department of Political science, Florida Atlantic University.)
David Swanson (School of Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University)

Journal of Public Procurement

ISSN: 1535-0118

Article publication date: 1 March 2015



Procurement systems in democratic governments across the globe face competing demands, conflated values and goals, and are being called upon to address societies "wicked" problems under the rubric of government "reform." As a result, government purchasing professionals are being challenged to develop new flexible structures and processes that devolve purchasing responsibility, yet maintain accountability and control; limit the opportunity for fraud/mismanagement while reducing operational constraints; increase economic efficiency while satisfying political demands for minority/local/small and women owned business participation; increase open and transparent competition while achieving best value; and applying best practices while confronting legal limitations. Essentially these dilemmas have placed public procurement at the forefront of government reform efforts. The current study delineates the nature of five dilemmas that purchasing practitioners face, and the implications of these dilemmas for purchasing in the public sphere are explored. Given the complexity of these dilemmas, procurement professionals will be continually called upon to balance these inherent tensions with little guidance from policymakers or elected officials.


McCue, C.P., Prier, E. and Swanson, D. (2015), "Five dilemmas in public procurement", Journal of Public Procurement, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 177-207.



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Copyright © 2015 by PrAcademics Press

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