Managing dissonance: Bureaucratic justice and public procurement

Richard Craven (2021)

Regulation and Governance, pp. 1-19.

Abstract. This article puts forward an analytical framework for understanding administrative justice. It does so by reading a leading approach, Jerry Mashaw’s administrative justice models, in conjunction with the pragmatic sociology of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot, and their orders of worth framework. This provides an enhanced framework, which, while remaining consistent with Mashaw, offers additional insights and is particularly suitable for analyzing decisionmaking environments in the modern contracting state. The article illustrates the workings of the new framework by looking at a controversy under UK and EU law concerning the inclusion of labor objectives in public procurement. The discussion reveals a decisionmaking environment characterized by system dissonance. Actors must navigate different sets of tensions and tradeoffs between competing normative and ethical visions for procurement decisionmaking.

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