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The role of intermediaries in social innovation: The case of social procurement in Australia

Social procurement is receiving renewed attention in new public governance regimes that seek to increase social value by stimulating markets for social enterprises and other social benefit providers. Intermediaries have traditionally played important roles in social procurement. Yet little has been done to codify these roles. In this paper, the functions and effects of an intermediary on buyer and supplier practices in social procurement are examined. Based on a two-year evaluation of a social procurement market development programme in Australia, the paper identifies the shifting functions of the intermediary for buyers, suppliers and the intermediary itself, and the implications of these for understanding social innovation in emergent inter-organizational fields.

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  • Social financiers and funders



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