UB Managerial Organizational And Technological Aspects Essay The questions below are based on the following case studies of IT development/procurement, wit

UB Managerial Organizational And Technological Aspects Essay The questions below are based on the following case studies of IT development/procurement, with a large focus on user requirements.

1-How well did each project consider various managerial, organizational, and technological aspects?

2-What lessons were learned regarding organizational change in systems development?

This is the name of the case Dialectics in requirements specification

Please Make it a page per qustion and please make it in times new roman 12 pt font, and ensure you dive deep into the questions so we can get a good grade.

This is a group project I will take my answers and give it to my classmate to merge it for the final draft.

Thank you. European Journal of Information Systems (2017) 26, 143–163
ª 2017 The Author(s). All rights reserved 0960-085X/17
The public procurement of information
systems: dialectics in requirements
Carl Erik Moe1,
Mike Newman2,3 and
Maung Kyaw Sein1,4
Department of Information Systems, University of
Agder, Kristiansand, Norway; 2 Department of
Accounting and Finance, Manchester Business
School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK;
Turku School of Economics, University of Turku,
Turku, Finland; 4 Information Systems, Luleå
University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Correspondence: Carl Erik Moe, Department
of Information Systems, University of Agder,
Kristiansand, Norway.
Tel: +47 97128924;
E-mail: Carl.E.Moe@uia.no
When acquiring information systems, public entities face a dilemma. On the one
hand, they want to procure the system that best suits their needs, which often
requires lengthy dialogues with vendors. At the same time, they are restricted by
government regulations that mandate limited dialogue in the interests of
transparency and equal opportunities for all vendors. To examine how public
entities deal with this, we followed three procurement projects in Norway. We
show that this dilemma manifests itself as a dialectic between the thesis of getting
the system requirements right and the antithesis of strictly adhering to regulations.
Public entities search for a resolution of this dialectic through two syntheses:
selecting an appropriate tendering procedure, and learning how to specify
requirements through networks of peer public entities. Our findings reveal that the
syntheses are possible because the dialectic is actually complimentary, both the
thesis and the antithesis are needed to create the joint outcome that satisfies both.
The resolution of the dialectic unfolds differently over time. Our study contributes
to the relatively neglected stream of IS research on dialectics that explicitly
searches for a synthesis while revealing the complementarity of the dialectic. We
show how time plays a nuanced role in the resolution of the dialectic situation.
European Journal of Information Systems (2017) 26(2), 143–163.
doi:10.1057/s41303-017-0035-4; published online 10 March 2017
Keywords: procurement; public procurement; government procurement; information
system procurement; requirements specification; dialectics in IS
The online version of this article is available Open Access
Prof. Par Agerfalk.
Associate Editor:
Prof. Walter Daniel Fernandez.
Received: 19 March 2015
Last Revised: 13 December 2016
Accepted: 20 December 2016
The public procurement of Information Systems (IS) can be a highly complex
process. One of the biggest challenges faced by procurement entities relates
to requirements specification. The procuring entities, which include public
organizations such as municipalities and government agencies or their
constituent units, have to adhere to strict regulations enacted by policymaking bodies such as the European Union (EU). These regulations require a
transparent process, with equal opportunities for all vendors.
As a consequence, procuring entities face the difficult task of specifying
precise requirements. They find this challenging, because rigid regulations
do not allow revisions to be made to requirements that are often incomplete
(Ovaska et al, 2005). Public procurement includes the formulation of
business requirements, the development of requirements specifications,
and the purchase (which may include tendering and contract signing),
receipt and inspection of products (Moe, 2014). Developing accurate
requirements specifications is difficult when: (a) a system is complex or
The public procurement of information systems
unique, and (b) when the procuring entity does not have
adequate knowledge of the system. There is no clear
definition of the term ‘‘uniqueness of systems’’ in the IS
literature. However, systems can be more or less unique
when seen in the context where it is used and the tasks it
is meant to support. ‘‘The uniqueness comes from every
task domain being embedded in a larger context, and it is
not possible to anticipate every useŕs concerns and goals
in every context’’ (Germonprez et al, 2007, p. 354).
Systems ‘‘will be used to address problems and goals
unique to each user’’ (p. 354). We do not define uniqueness in an absolute sense but as a continuum between
being the only one (i.e. totally unique) and being
relatively common. The uniqueness of a system depends
on whether there are few installations or whether new
versions have unique features.
Complex Information Systems are described as those
‘‘large organizational systems that integrate and streamline
business processes across various functional departments/
areas’’ (Hsieh & Wang, 2007, p. 216). A prime example is
ERP systems. Acquiring such systems is a complex project in
itself, with increasing organizational complexity or an
increasing number of interdependent organizational units
(Baccarini, 1996). Procuring entities often lack internal
competencies in evaluating alternative systems, which
further complicates the process of identifying requirements. There is often a knowledge asymmetry between a
procuring entity and vendors on different issues, including
information system requirements (Sawyer, 2001).
Our study is aimed at gaining a better understanding of
how a public entity navigates through the maze of
regulations and procedures in its quest to procure a system
that best meets its requirements. Our research question is:
‘‘How does a public procuring entity procure the Information System best suited to its requirements and simultaneously follow the regulations?
To answer this question, we studied three cases that
differed in terms of the type of system procured and the
procurement procedure applied. The cases are from three
different entities in two Norwegian municipalities but all
were subject to EU regulations. When we cast an interpretive gaze at our research question, it can be reframed
as a dialectic between the following thesis and antithesis:
Thesis Obtaining the system that best meets a public entity’s complex information requirements, irrespective
of any constraints.
Antithesis Abiding by the principles of EU regulations on
public procurement (i.e. openness and transparency, and equal opportunities for all
Obtaining the system that best meets complex requirements usually requires some degree of dialogue between
the procuring entity and the vendors throughout the
process. The antithesis essentially limits this. The thesis,
on the other hand, tends to encourage such dialogue.
European Journal of Information Systems
Carl Erik Moe et al
This reframing of our research question enabled us to
address an area of the IS research on dialectics that has
received relatively little attention in the literature. The
steadily growing body of IS research that has employed
the dialectics lens (e.g. Nordheim & Nilsen, 2008; Nordheim & Päivärinta, 2006; Sabherwal & Newman, 2003)
primarily focus on understanding and explaining the
conflicts that underlie processes such as systems development, organizational change and system implementation. While these studies have revealed how conflicts are
eventually resolved (or not resolved), few studies (e.g. De
Luca et al, 2008) have specifically focused on the explicit
search for a synthesis. We address this knowledge gap by
focusing on the creation of the synthesis by casting the
antithesis not as a negation of the thesis, but rather as
complementary to it. In other words, both sides of the
dialectic are needed for creating a joint satisfactory
outcome (c.f. Carlo et al, 2012; De Luca et al, 2008).
The rest of the paper is structured as follows: the next
section explains public procurement and the main procedures in the EU. Although not a member of EU, Norway
has to follow these regulations because it belongs to the
European Economic Area or EEA, which is governed by
EU regulations. We then present dialectics, followed by a
description of our research method and the presentation
of our cases and analyses. We then present our findings
and discuss them. Next, we discuss the implications of
our study, highlighting our contribution to the literature
and we end the paper by offering implications for both
research and practice.
Public procurement
Procurement can be categorized into two broad forms:
‘‘partnership sourcing’’ and ‘‘adversarial competition’’
(Parker & Hartley, 1997). Partnership sourcing implies
outsourcing (e.g. systems development work on a more
or less regular basis to the same vendor). Adversarial
competition implies rivalry between two or more vendors
for a contract. This is done through a tendering process,
which can be defined as making an offer, bid or proposal,
or expressing interest in response to an invitation or
request for tender. The focus of our paper is on adversarial competition, because public procurement generally
requires open competition.
Public entities in many parts of the world are subject to
strict regulations on procurement. At the time when we
conducted our studies, two public procurement directives
were in effect in the EU and EEA (EU, 2004a, b). Since we
conducted our case analysis, the EU has promulgated two
new directives (EU, 2004a, b). These will govern public
procurement from 2016 onwards, and we will discuss the
consequences of this change later in the paper.
Underlying the regulations are the principles of transparency and non-discriminatory competition (EU,
2004a, b; Cox, 1994). In the EU member countries, all
public procurements above a threshold level have to be
The public procurement of information systems
announced through the EU‘s Tender Electronic Database.
This makes the call visible worldwide, and vendors are
given the same opportunities, irrespective of location.
Some countries have additional national threshold levels
beyond which a call has to be announced on the national
tendering database. For example, the threshold in Norway, as of spring 2016, is NOK 500,000 (approximately
€58,000). All procurements that are expected to be above
this threshold have to be announced on the national
tendering portal, DOFFIN. The legal regulations lead to a
more complex procurement process in the public sector.
We next elaborate the main procedures used under the
EU regulations.
Procurement procedures under the EU regulations
At the time we conducted our studies, EU regulations
allowed four tendering procedures: open tendering,
restricted tendering, tendering with negotiations, and competitive dialogue. The first two prevent any form of dialogue
with the vendors, while the third allows for negotiations
and the fourth allows for dialogue. The simplest procedure is open tendering (Figure 1), where all vendors
can compete based on a tender announcement and a
‘‘frozen’’ requirements specification. Vendors can be
excluded on the grounds of certification, financial
stability and technical ability, if these are stated explicitly
in the tender announcement. After selection, the process
is basically the same for all the procedures. Hence, the
final two phases (implementation and completion) are
not shown in Figures 2, 3 and 4.
In restricted tendering (Figure 2), vendors are
invited to submit documentation as part of the prequalification process. The procuring entity can specify a
maximum number of vendors allowed to compete, as
well as the selection criteria it will apply. The minimum
number is five. A requirements specification may be
developed in parallel with the pre-qualification of
The next two procedures allow varying degrees of
dialogue to take place between the procuring entity and
the bidding vendors. As with restricted tendering, tendering with negotiations (Figure 3) includes a prequalification stage. After the tendering phase, the
Development of
Exclusion *
Figure 1
Carl Erik Moe et al
procuring entity can run negotiations on all aspects of
an offer, including technical features, price and contract
issues. This procedure is only allowed when the technical
specifications cannot be established with sufficient precision. If there are three or more qualified candidate
vendors, at least three must be invited to participate.
Negotiations may be carried out in stages, and the
number of vendors participating may be reduced through
this process.
In competitive dialogue (Figure 4), the procurement
entity can carry out a dialogue with the vendors that prequalify, before finalizing the award criteria and getting
the offers from these vendors. This is only permitted for
particularly complex contracts in markets with technical,
legal or financial complexity. Legal or financial complexity often arises in connection with public–private partnerships. Technical complexity involves situations where
a contracting authority may not be able to determine
which of several possible solutions would best satisfy its
needs (EU, 2005). At least three vendors must be invited.
Unlike tendering with negotiations, this procedure does
not allow negotiation to take place after offers have been
submitted; however, the vendor that has submitted the
Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT), from
the point of view of the procuring entity, may be asked to
clarify aspects of the offer. The MEAT approach allows
the procuring entity to decide the relative weighting of
quality and price (or cost), technical merit, aesthetic and
functional characteristics, environmental characteristics,
running costs, cost effectiveness, after-sales service and
technical assistance, delivery date and delivery period, or
period of completion (EU, 2004b). The dialogue may run
over several meetings with the vendors, and serves as
input to the requirements specification. The number of
vendors may be reduced through successive stages.
Summarizing the public procurement procedures
Table 1 compares the four public procurement
Open tendering is the most common procedure: in the
period 2006 to 2010, about 73% of all tender notices in
the EU used open tendering. Restricted tendering was
applied in approximately 9% of the tender notices, and
Overview of phases in open tendering. The exclusion phase is optional (*).
European Journal of Information Systems
The public procurement of information systems
Carl Erik Moe et al
Development of
of upcoming
of vendors
Figure 2
Overview of phases in restricted tendering.
of upcoming
Development of
Prequalificaon of
Figure 3
Overview of phases in tendering with negotiations.
of upcoming
Prequalificaon of
Dialogue with
Development of
Figure 4
Overview of phases in competitive dialogue.
tendering with negotiations was used in nearly 16% of
the tender notices. In 2010, competitive dialogue made
up only 0.4% of tender notices, but accounted for 8.6% of
the monetary value (Strand et al, 2011). The first three
procedures (i.e. open tendering, restricted tendering and
tendering with negotiations) have been in operation
since 1988. Competitive dialogue was established in 2004
as an alternative to tendering with negotiations, with the
aim of making public–private partnership easier (Barlow
et al, 2010).
In all the procedures, vendors must be given sufficient
time to prepare their offers and must be granted equal
access to information. Procuring entities have to keep
written documentation of the process in order that
competing vendors can gain access to the appropriate
records after the procuring entity has chosen a vendor.
In summary, we can see that the regulations in a
complex procurement process produce a dialectic
between the goal of obtaining the system that best
matches the requirements specification and the goal of
abiding by the regulations.
European Journal of Information Systems
Dialectic and dialectical thinking have their origins in
ancient Greece as a discourse between two or more
people holding different points of view about a subject,
and who want to establish the truth about a matter
through reasoned arguments. The differing views may
come from differing commitments within one group
(procurement personnel in our case) or between different
stakeholder groups with contradictory goals.
Dialectic is a means of understanding contradictions
that pull in opposite directions. In the Hegelian understanding, dialectical thinking implies a specific search for
contradictions (Mathiassen & Nielsen, 1989; Cho et al,
2007) in the form of a thesis and antithesis. A thesis
consists of multiple assumptions. An antithesis contains
assumptions that oppose one or more of the assumptions
constituting the thesis. Figure 5 depicts the Hegelian
understanding of the dialectic process:
As we can see in Figure 5, the dialectical process can
result in three different outcomes: (1) a synthesis, which
is a compromise between the thesis and antithesis (e.g.
The public procurement of information systems
Table 1
Carl Erik Moe et al
Comparison of the public procurement procedures
Exclusion possible
Dialogue during
requirements spec.
Negotiations after
finalizing req. spec.
Open tendering
Restricted tendering
Tendering with negotiations
Competitive dialogue




Thesis / Anthesis
Conflict, Pluralism
Figure 5
Dialectical process (adapted from Van de Ven & Poole, 1995).
Nordheim & Päivärinta, 2006), (2) the thesis or antithesis
prevails (e.g. Nordheim, 2009), or (3) no resolution,
where the thesis and antithesis remain in a state of
pluralism or conflict (e.g. Sabherwal & Grover, 2010). A
synthesis may in turn lead to a contradicting antithesis,
which may set off another dialectical process.
Significantly, time can also play a role in reducing
conflicts and changing the dialectical situation (Sabherwal & Grover, 2010). Cyert & March (1963) coined the
phrase ‘‘sequential attention to goals’’ to show how
attention to political goals may shift over time in
response to the perception of problems. Thus, inconsistent or conflicting goals, and consequently the dialectic,
may be resolved differently at different points in time or
not at all. In our cases, as we shall see later, time was a key
factor in the formulation of the syntheses that emerged
in the procurement process.
There is a steady stream of IS research that has used
dialectics primarily to understand conflicts that underlie
change processes and the associated political undertones
(Sabherwal & Grover, 2010). Examples include the
change processes in IS development (Bjerknes, 1991;
Markus, 1983; Sabherwal & Newman, 2003), the development and implementation of enterprise content management systems (Nordheim & Päivärinta, 2006),
software selection (Howcroft & Light, 2006) and the
implementation of Enterprise Systems (Robey et al, 2002;
Soh et al, 2003; Nordheim & Nielsen, 2008). In the
context of packaged software procurement, dialectics can
reveal conflicts (Howcroft & Light, 2002), and how power
is employed by technical consultants (Howcroft & Light,
2006). Finally, dialectics has also been applied to understand contradictions in the public procurement of information systems (Moe & Sein, 2014).
As we can see from this brief review of IS literature that
has used dialectics, the predominant focus has been on
contradictions, conflicts and change processes. This is in
keeping with the Hege…
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