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Systemic risk in major public contracts


  • Bloomfield, Katherine
  • Williams, Terry
  • Bovis, Chris
  • Merali, Yasmin


This paper presents a novel approach to the characterisation of “systemic risk” in the context of public sector procurement and contracting. We argue that contemporary risk management practices in project and programme management exhibit a number of limitations. This is particularly relevant to public sector contracting, which, the authors postulate, would benefit from more sophisticated practices that are capable of dealing with risk ‘systemicity’. Drawing on a sample of public sector procurement exercises commissioned by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the paper presents a multi-method approach that aims to increase our understanding of complex outsourcing contracts. The results suggest a need for more appropriate methods of risk analysis, and discuss the practical implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Bloomfield, Katherine & Williams, Terry & Bovis, Chris & Merali, Yasmin, 2019. "Systemic risk in major public contracts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 667-676.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:35:y:2019:i:2:p:667-676
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijforecast.2018.10.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christophe Midler, 1995. "Projectification of the Firm : the Renault Case," Post-Print hal-00262524, HAL.
    2. Derek Cabrera & Laura Cabrera & Erin Powers, 2015. "A Unifying Theory of Systems Thinking with Psychosocial Applications," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(5), pages 534-545, September.
    3. C Eden & T Williams & F Ackermann & S Howick, 2000. "The role of feedback dynamics in disruption and delay on the nature of disruption and delay (D&D) in major projects," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 51(3), pages 291-300, March.
    4. Matthew Leitch, 2010. "ISO 31000:2009—The New International Standard on Risk Management," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 30(6), pages 887-892, June.
    5. Midler, Christophe, 1995. ""Projectification" of the firm: The renault case," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 363-375, December.
    6. F Ackermann & C Eden & T Williams & S Howick, 2007. "Systemic risk assessment: a case study," Journal of the Operational Research Society, Palgrave Macmillan;The OR Society, vol. 58(1), pages 39-51, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manuel J. García Rodríguez & Vicente Rodríguez Montequín & Francisco Ortega Fernández & Joaquín M. Villanueva Balsera, 2019. "Public Procurement Announcements in Spain: Regulations, Data Analysis, and Award Price Estimator Using Machine Learning," Complexity, Hindawi, vol. 2019, pages 1-20, November.

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