social responsibility, procurement, purchasing, government, public sector, public policy


The aggregate annual expenditures of federal, state and local governments, in concert with universities and school districts represents incredible purchasing power and requires great prowess in its expenditure. Over the course of centuries, procurement has been used as a policy tool to improve society. This research delved into defining and determining the involvement of state and local governments in socially responsible activities related to the expenditure of public funds. Data collected in 2005 by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc., was reviewed to determine if the expectations set for the private sector known as corporate social responsibility could be applied to the public sector. The study found that the definition as established for the private sector with regard to procurement social responsibility may also be employed in the public sector. A composite index of Public Procurement Social Responsibility (PPSR) was created as a benchmark for future comparison. Further, the presence of top-down management support for socially responsible initiatives in procurement in the areas of formal policies, goals and objectives and performance tracking mechanisms dictated higher PPSR scores for agencies. Mean Scores for PPSR were reviewed using independent variables of agency type, location, population served, procurement volume, and budget size. While top-down support of PPSR initiatives dictated strong involvement of an agency, there was no correlation between agency type, size, procurement spend, or population size on the mean score of a governmental entity, with or without the presence of PPSR drivers. The variables that influence the PPSR activities of an agency are similar across all demographics. What appears to drive the participation in socially responsible initiatives of government is the buy-in and mandate through regulation, policy and example set by management. This posture is emulated not only professionally, but the data indicates that it influences personal behavior as well. In order to bring about societal change, results are best achieved through the creation of policy for participation, establishing benchmarks for measuring success and integrating performance review milestones for achievement of goals and objectives related to PPSR.


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Graduation Date





Martin, Lawrence


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Public Administration

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)