Political Accountability during Structuration of Competition for Public Services

    Research output: Other contribution



           The aim of this study is to analyse political accountability during structuration of competitive by analysing how position-practices and internal structures affect implementation of competitive tendering and political accountability among active agents.


    A field study was conducted from 2007 to 2015 in a regional city in Finland. Data is based on document analysis, interviews and meeting observations. Research design, data collection and analysis apply methodological bracketing for field research.


    Findings show that during initial implementation of competitive tendering, position-practice relations at macro- organisational level prevailed over the internal structures of public officials and political decision-makers and political accountability weakened. During structuration of a second competitive tendering process, however, public officials took strong positions to monitor macro-organisational practices in order to minimise procurement risks. The restructuration process led to a positive outcome and improved political accountability. A major contribution of this study is to demonstrate ways in which active agents can be affected by, and affect structures of, organisational change to improve their accountability.

     Research limitations

           Field research and interpretation of the data are limited to the analysed organisations.                   Empirical findings cannot be extended to other organisations directly.

     Practical implications

    Public officials and political decision makers cannot be expected to succeed in applying market mechanisms, such as competitive tendering, in outsourcing health care services.


    This study shows applicability of strong structuration theory in analysing competitive tendering and political accountability.

    Keywords: Strong structuration, accountability, competitive tendering, position-practice, structure, agent, care, public sector

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Strong structuration
    • Accountability
    • Competitive tendering
    • Position-practice

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