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Professional judgement: an institutional logic approach to contractor tender pricing

Jefferies, D. and Schweber, L. (2022) Professional judgement: an institutional logic approach to contractor tender pricing. Buildings and Cities, 3 (1). pp. 518-533. ISSN 2362-6655 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5334/bc.204


Competitive tendering is the default procurement route for most types of construction projects in the UK. As a process, it is costly, time-consuming and complicated, involving input from upwards of 200 separate organisations per project. Existing research has mainly focused on identifying discrete factors that influence contractor pricing. While many scholars and professionals treat the level of mark-up as a technical problem, others acknowledge the role of professional judgement. This paper uses the neo-institutional concept of ‘hybrid institutional logics’ and an exploratory study into two projects in one firm to explore the way in which different types of professionals work together to produce a single price. The research documents the existence of two distinct logics: a first-principles cost estimation logic and strategic mark-up logic. These are combined in a highly structured process, with moments of separation, bridging and demarcation. These findings explain how firms purposefully balance multiple cognitive schemas to manage resources and position themselves in the market. The research also offers a novel theoretical approach to the study of multidisciplinary collaboration which can be used to address issues of integration more generally.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:105980
Uncontrolled Keywords:Competitive tendering, contractor pricing, estimation, institutional logics, hybrid organizations, professional judgement
Publisher:Ubiquity press


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