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Investigating the implementation of SME-friendly policy in public procurement

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Public sector employees with responsibility for purchasing are under increasing pressure to implement small and medium enterprise (SME)-friendly policies. Such policies are intended to make it easier for SMEs to compete for and win public sector contracts. In spite of the socio-economic importance of this issue, there remains a dearth of evidence on what is happening in practice. Using primary survey data from 271 public buyers in Ireland, this paper examines the extent to which SME-friendly procurement policy is being implemented and the individual and organization factors that affect implementation. The findings reveal a gap between what government policy recommends public buyers and their organizations should do to facilitate SMEs versus what they are actually doing. Policy familiarity, procurement involvement, organization size and the maturity of the procurement function are shown to be positively associated with the implementation of SME-friendly policy. For managers and legislators, the findings underline the need to invest in the human capital dimension of public procurement if policy implementation rates are to improve.
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Keywords: SME; policy; procurement; public sector

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: July 4, 2018

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