Constructing Social Procurement: An Institutional Perspective on Working with Employment Requirements
Doktorsavhandling, 2020

Private and public organisations are increasingly using their purchasing power to mitigate societal issues and create social value. This is called social procurement. Due to problems such as segregation, unemployment, and social exclusion, social procurement in Sweden has focused on employment requirements. This is a type of criterion within social procurement that is used to create employment opportunities for marginalised long-term unemployed people, such as immigrants, youths and/or people with disabilities. These target groups often live in segregated neighbourhoods in run-down housing. This situation has led organisations in the Swedish construction and real estate sector to implement employment requirements in the procurement of their building and refurbishment projects and also in the facilities maintenance of the buildings, often hiring their own tenants. By hiring unemployed people to work with refurbishing their run-down housing, and supplying more labour to the construction sector, employment requirements have the potential to create social value for individuals, organisations, and for society.

However, it is unclear how social procurement and employment requirements unfold in practice and what it means for the daily work of individual and organisational actors. Working with employment requirements can spur new ways of thinking and organising; create new roles, actors and responsibilities; create new practices, knowledge and coordination needs; and create new business opportunities. These new ways of thinking and organising, requires closer empirical, theoretical and conceptual examination. Therefore, this thesis aims to analyse how individual and organisational actors work with social procurement and how this work brings about institutional change processes that affect the everyday work of these actors. This thesis builds on a qualitative research design, mainly using interviews, where the practice-oriented theoretical perspectives of institutional work and institutional logics are applied to analyse how practices, roles, identities and norms change as a result of working with social procurement.

The findings in this thesis make several contributions to both theory and practice. For social procurement research, in the context of the construction and real estate sector, this thesis adds rich details about what employment requirements mean for individual actors, and their professional roles, identities and daily work practices. The research also provides details on what enablers, drivers and barriers there are for working with employment requirements, as well as a discussion on which type of actors that are affected by these enablers, drivers and barriers.

For the theoretical perspectives of institutional logics and work, this research adds insight and an empirical example of how a conflicting and disruptive institutional logic collide and mesh in a tightly regulated and institutionalised environment, and how a sustainable concept may become institutionalised despite considerable inertia, through the use of creative institutional work. Moreover, the research illustrates how actors differ in terms of the type of institutional work they conduct, and how these different kinds of ‘institutional workmanship’ interact. It also calls into question the role of intentionality in institutional work.

For practitioners, the findings highlight what works well and less well when actors work with employment requirements. The identified barriers constitute a concrete list of areas in which adjustments can be made to enable an effective and efficient creation and dissemination of employment requirements and associated practices. For those already working with employment requirements today, the findings acknowledge the struggles that individual actors face when working with employment requirements, which can help legitimise their roles and practices and, by extension, the use of employment requirements.

roles

institutional logics

institutional work

qualitative study

organisation

social procurement

construction and real estate sector

work

practice

employment requirements

rhetoric

social value

interviews

Vasa B, Vera Sandbergs allé 8, samt via Zoom - Länk: https://chalmers.zoom.us/j/66436098250 Lösenord: 633181
Opponent: Dr. Ani Raiden, Department of Human Resource Management, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Författare

Daniella Troje

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Service Management and Logistics

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Private and public organisations are increasingly using their purchasing power to mitigate societal issues and create social value. This is called social procurement. Due to problems such as segregation, unemployment, and social exclusion, social procurement in Sweden has focused on employment requirements. This is a type of criterion within social procurement that is used to create employment opportunities for marginalised long-term unemployed people, such as immigrants, youths and/or disabled people. However, it is unclear what happens in organisations and with the daily work of individual actors when employment requirements are used. Working with employment requirements can spur new ways of thinking and organising; create new roles, actors and responsibilities; create new practices, knowledge and coordination needs; and create new business opportunities. These new ways of thinking and organising, requires closer examination. Therefore, this thesis aims to analyse how individual and organisational actors work with social procurement and how this work brings about institutional change processes that affect the everyday work of these actors. This thesis builds on a qualitative research design, mainly using interviews, and applies a practice and institutional perspective to understand how practices, roles and identities change as a result of working with social procurement.

The findings show that employment requirements can be used as a recruitment tool to find more workers, but that this often becomes complicated in practice, as interns often lack the right education and experience for the work they are expected to do. Collaboration is said to be very important to work with employment requirements, but in practice collaboration is often weak between hierarchical levels within organisations. Furthermore, many actors have to balance an ambiguous identity of what the scope of their role and responsibilities should be. Actors who work with employment requirements and the interns often levels feel stressed about handling their formal tasks and responsibilities and, at the same time, work with employment requirements and the interns. As of yet, employment requirements have few well-defined routines or resources tied to those routines. Many of the actors find that their work with employment requirements increases their pride, happiness and motivation, however, motivation among interns to accept and fulfil and internships is quite weak, as many interns feel like an internship offered through employment requirements will never lead to a permanent job.

All in all, the work with employment requirements have led to the creation of new practices and roles and identities, as well as an alteration of already established practices and roles and identities, for the individual actors and organisations in the Swedish construction and real estate sector. Although working with employment requirements is not easy, for example due to a lack of routines and resources, employment requirements have the opportunity to create social value for individual actors, organisations, and for society.

Drivkrafter

Hållbar utveckling

Ämneskategorier

Annan samhällsbyggnadsteknik

ISBN

978-91-7905-374-1

Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4841

Utgivare

Chalmers tekniska högskola

Vasa B, Vera Sandbergs allé 8, samt via Zoom - Länk: https://chalmers.zoom.us/j/66436098250 Lösenord: 633181

Online

Opponent: Dr. Ani Raiden, Department of Human Resource Management, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Mer information

Senast uppdaterat

2020-09-24