Federal Bid Protests: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?
Hawkins, Timothy G.
Gravier, Michael J.
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The fear of receiving a bid protest is said to affect acquisition strategies, yet it has not been empirically explored. Based on the Public Value Framework and interviews with contracting personnel, this research tests a model of antecedents to and consequences of the fear of a protest. Survey data was obtained from a sample of 350 contracting personnel. The fear of protest is mitigated by having sufficient procurement lead time and by source selection experience, and increased by protest risk. Fear of protest increases compromised technical evaluations, added procurement lead time, and transaction costs, while it decreases contracting officer authority and is associated with source selection method inappropriateness. Compromised technical evaluations, in turn, decrease contractor performance while contracting officer authority increases contractor performance. Thus, findings suggest that, indeed, the tail is wagging the dog. The research concludes with several managerial implications, study limitations and future research directions.
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