Procuring architectural services: Sensemaking in a legal context

Leentje Volker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Decision makers involved in selecting an architect for a building project in the public domain have to comply with European procurement regulations. The blend of the legal requirements and the subjective elements of architectural design creates a situation in which the legal rationale often clashes with the organizational sensemaking process that decision makers experience. Hence, being aware of the origin of these conflicts could have important managerial implications for the design of a tender process. A competition and a tender case were selected to collect data by observation, interviewing and document analysis. The incremental and iterative character of making sense of supply and demand and the implicit ways of aggregating value judgements in order to make a final procurement decision were found to be the main underlying decision processes in procuring architectural services. Being aware of these characteristics in the design of a tender process would significantly reduce the chance of conflictive situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-759
Number of pages11
JournalConstruction management and economics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Architectural design
  • client
  • decision making
  • public sector procurement
  • sensemaking


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