Rhetorical Strategies to Diffuse Social Procurement in Construction
Paper in proceedings, 2018
Social procurement - in particular employment requirements aimed to create employment opportunities for disadvantaged unemployed people like immigrants or the disabled - are increasingly implemented in Swedish construction procurement. Social procurement is novel in Sweden, and actors who work with implementing employment requirements try to spread these practices throughout the sector. Building on interviews with 21 actors working with social procurement, this paper investigates rhetorical strategies for diffusing a social procurement practice in the construction sector. Applying the Aristotelian types of arguments, ethos, logos and pathos, when investigating the rhetoric used by proponents of social procurement, the findings show that they use a wide range of rhetorical strategies that that emphasize the character of the proponents and their arguments, that explicate the rationality of social procurement, and that appeal to the emotions of potential supporters. The findings contribute to research on social procurement by identifying discourse related to social procurement, as well as rhetorical strategies proponents of social procurement use in attempts to diffuse social procurement practice throughout the Swedish construction sector. These rhetorical strategies may potentially increase legitimation of social procurement. For managers who aim to diffuse social procurement in the sector, the findings provide an overview of a number of different types of arguments that can be used in order to argue for social procurement and its benefits.