Socially responsible ideas among Swedish public procurers: An exploratory study

Setayesh Sattari, Arash Kordestani, Pejvak Oghazi*, Ali Hajighasemi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Public procurement is increasingly being recognized as a tool to promote corporate social responsibility and a vehicle to help governments achieve their social development goals. Due to their power to intervene and their reliance on tax money, public sector organizations are focused on expanding the inclusion of social responsibility in their public procurement strategies. At the EU level, there is a strong focus on providing new opportunities for public authorities to promote socially responsible public procurement. Utilizing translation theory and following the travel of ideas framework in a Scandinavian institutionalism approach, this study maps the adoption, development, and implementation of social responsibility in public procurement through the five stages of materialization, categorization, transportation, institutionalization, and re-travel. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews with public procurement authorities from municipalities, regional councils, and governmental organizations in Sweden. The findings show that the travel of social responsibility policies in public procurement follows a new Scandinavian institutionalism approach that has brought policy makers freedom in prioritizing social issues but leaves them confused about what to prioritize. Furthermore, while the results show a positive relationship in organizations between their size, measured as full-time procurement employees, and their maturity level in terms of social responsibility, this maturity level is not associated with their procurement spending. The study findings have important implications for research on socially responsible public procurement. Additionally, the data collected from public organizations suggest several ways that policy makers can include, promote, and institutionalize social responsibility in their procurement strategies to reduce disparity and improve social welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100251
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Innovation and Knowledge
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Public policy
  • Public procurement
  • Social responsibility
  • Stakeholders
  • Translation theory
  • Travel of ideas


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