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Managing the RFP Process from a Discursive Perspective

20 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2012  

Adrian Yeow

SIM University

Cecil Chua

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 5, 2012


While the Request for Proposal (RFP) process is recognized as highly challenging, little research directly investigates the dynamics of this process. This paper studies the question of how clients make sense of their requirements while managing the RFP process through a longitudinal case study. Given specifying requirements is hard, how can clients specify requirements to vendors? Our research shows that the RFP process is a dynamic, social process of discovery and sensemaking. Sensemaking within the RFP process is achieved through multiple rounds of discursive activities that build common constructions of issues. We also highlight the role of power and status among RFP participants in both enabling and constraining the discursive process and offer managers a set of practical strategies for managing the RFP process that produces effective results.

Keywords: Discourse analysis, Information Systems Development, Request for proposals

JEL Classification: L86

Suggested Citation

Yeow, Adrian and Chua, Cecil, Managing the RFP Process from a Discursive Perspective (January 5, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Adrian Yeow (Contact Author)

SIM University ( email )

461 Clementi Road
Singapore, 599491


Cecil Chua

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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