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Maximising “community benefits” in public procurement: tensions and trade-offs

Wontner, Karen, Walker, Helen, Harris, Irina and Lynch, Jane 2020. Maximising “community benefits” in public procurement: tensions and trade-offs. International Journal of Operations and Production Management

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Abstract

Purpose - This study aims to illuminate the challenges involved in implementing Community Benefits (CBs), a sustainable public procurement policy that ensures that there are positive social and economic outcomes for the local community when public money is spent on goods, works and services. Design/methodology/approach - Interviews and focus groups were conducted with public sector buyers and suppliers in Wales with experience in implementing CBs. Resource dependence theory was used to examine the extent to which dependence on resources effects CBs implementation. Findings - Whilst the study confirms that implementation of CBs improves economic and social outcomes, there can also be challenges for public sector organisations and their constituent supply chains. These include tensions between CBs and other policies, differing views between buyers and suppliers, and the unintended consequences of promoting one form of CBs over another. Research and practical limitations/implications – The research found that the Welsh Government influences the buyer-supplier dyad through regulatory and financial power. We elaborate on resource dependency theory by adding four constructs (powerful stakeholders, intra and inter organisational issues, challenges, and enablers) to better understand the flows of power and resources in this research context. Buyer and supplier practitioners may find the factors leading to successful CBs implementation useful, such as ensuring closer communication and liaison at early contract stages. Originality/value - This study addresses the need for research into how public sector organisations and suppliers seek to implement socio-economic sustainability measures, and the lack of research on CBs implementation to date. It is also novel in adopting a dyadic approach and a resource dependency perspective.

Item Type: Article
Status: In Press
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0144-3577
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (ref 1369142)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 31 July 2020
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 09:21
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/134035

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