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Paper info: Creating commitments through discursive procurement practices


Creating commitments through discursive procurement practices


Sari Laari-Salmela, Pia-Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Tuija Mainela and Marjukka Manninen

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 32nd IMP-conference in Poznan, Poland in 2016.



In this paper, we present an analysis of a longitudinal in-depth single case study of a small municipality’s school procurement and building project. The municipality considers procurement as a strategic area of its operations especially as it allows creating change in the organization through its partnerships in the wider network. This is pursued through creating commitments that are transient in nature, and therefore should become rooted in the discursive practices of the organizations. We study the transformation of coopetitive procurement practices of the municipality organization through the lens of discursive practices: we ask how does the purchasing organization balance the coopetitive tensions in the supplier relationships, and what kind of implications does this have for the internal workings of the organization itself? As a result, we found that both identities of the municipality organization as a purchaser and the contractor organization as a supplier are constituted through a purchase and building process of a new school. This coopetitive relationship context functions in two directions: while the municipality aims to affect the supplier’s role in the process, developing from a traditional contractor into a long-term life-cycle partner with a shared responsibility of the project, the municipality also changes its own sense of self. These discourses lie in the core of strategy-making of the whole organization. As a result, we suggest that commitments can be seen related to those subjectivities that are being constructed in a discourse and through these discourses, commitmenttype of subjectivities are maintained.