Owner's Interference in Reverse Auction Bidding to Skew a Free Market
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Reverse auction bidding is an online auction system. A purchaser's primary objective in using a reverse auction is to obtain the lowest possible bid for goods and services on a construction project. With this type of bidding, it is normal that the purchaser will only consider price, instead of a bidders' work history and experience. As a reverse auction is an online service, the common misperception is that a purchaser can reach a broader market to obtain the lowest possible price. It is a controversial bidding system. No previous research has been undertaken by the Texas A&M University Reverse Auction Bidding study group into potential owner interference with the bidding system for a reverse auction. Six bidders were asked to participate in the Reverse Auction Bidding process for a series of construction projects in Houston. Each participant was also asked to complete a Keirsey Temperament Sorter Test type I and II to determine each participant's personality. After the tests, the six participants competed in an online reverse auction bidding game. The primary objective of this research is to analyze the impact of an owner's interference in a reverse auction bidding scenario. In this test, one of the six bidders acted as the owner's surrogate to interfere with an ethical process and reduce the owner's costs. The other five bidders were unaware of the surrogate's role in the bidding. The primary directive given to the surrogate bidder was to drive down the cost of the projects. The results for the research study show that the owner's surrogate can affect the bidding process. Interference results in reduced returns for the bidders when compared to an uncompromised bidding scenario. It is clear that the method used is unethical.
Chaudhari, Sushil V. (2009). Owner's Interference in Reverse Auction Bidding to Skew a Free Market. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from