Shaping a buyer’s software selection process through tendering legislation

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Abstract

Tendering legislation aims to enhance competitiveness by promoting
equality, proportionality, transparency, and non‐discrimination. Such
legislation applies to the procurement of software packages by public
institutions in many countries. This study explores how tendering
legislation shapes a buyer's software selection process through the
lens of competing decision‐making rationalities. From the literature,
3 rationalities enacted in software selection are deduced that we
relate to the software selection literature regarding tendering legislation.
Through this lens, we subsequently examine how a large health
care provider selected a supplier for an electronic health record
system after an extensive tendering process. Many health care
professionals within this organization were in favour of a particular
software package. Yet, the organization purchased a different package
from a relatively unknown supplier, the implementation of which
failed. The actors involved experienced shaping on 5 decisionmaking
themes, the implications of which are evaluated against the
functional, economic, and political rationality norms derived from
the literature. The findings suggest that compliance with tendering
legislation over the public procurement of software results in
increased legal complexity, greater linearity and objectivity, more
extensive formalization, and less relational communication. Functional
norms of rationality are stressed, seemingly to balance the
enforced economic norms of rationality and to compensate for the
decreased room for political rationality. Even so, the shaping by the
tendering legislation threatens functional rationality. Ultimately
functional and economic norms of rationality win over political
rationality, yet the latter still dribbles through, albeit in a different
guise than reported for software selection in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-928
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2018

Keywords

  • decision‐making process, public procurement, software selection, tendering legislation
  • ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS
  • DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES
  • PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
  • PACKAGED SOFTWARE
  • ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS
  • INFLUENCE TACTICS
  • IMPLEMENTATION
  • POWER
  • SPECIFICATION
  • TECHNOLOGY

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