The Karenina Principle and the Pathology of Administrative Appeals: A Chiropractic Approach to Improving DOD Acquisitions

35 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2010

See all articles by Steven Maser

Steven Maser

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Date Written: July 15, 2010

Abstract

What do appeals of administrative decisions tell us about the processes that give rise to them? Bid protests of Department of Defense source selections are illustrative. Rejected bidders can appeal to the Government Accountability Office. GAO sustains protests – few, but costly and growing – on grounds of procedural irregularity. Applying concepts from organizational economics, conflict management, and dispute systems design, we explore misalignments among management practices within agencies that can contribute to procedural errors and, thereby, to appeals. A conflict management audit, including interviews with participants in the process and analysis of GAO’s bid protest decisions, identifies sources of conflict in misalignments among strategy, structure, human resources, policies and procedures, and monitoring. Strategically adjusting the decisions to contract out, expanding authority and responsibility for risk management, creating professional development opportunities, revisiting policies on bundling and duration of contracts, and using performance information to incentivize the workforce can mitigate bid protests.

Keywords: procurement, public management, protests

JEL Classification: H10, H57

Suggested Citation

Maser, Steven M., The Karenina Principle and the Pathology of Administrative Appeals: A Chiropractic Approach to Improving DOD Acquisitions (July 15, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1647939 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1647939

Steven M. Maser (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States

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