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Contents of IMP Journal issue 1, volume 7

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Public purchasing policy as innovation killer?



Authors


Alexandra Waluszewski, Sofia Wagrell

Abstract


A supply of more cost-efficient solutions to the public sector, which at the same time can result in innovative products creating benefits for both the public and private sectors, is probably one of our times’ politically most wanted economic phenomena. But what effect does the contemporary public purchasing policy have on the wanted type of innovation journey? The research question of this paper concerns how the purchasing policy of some Swedish public hospitals could breed the supply of a new, innovative medical treatment method for enlarged prostate, including the emergence of a supplying company, while hindering the embedding of the innovation into large-scale use. The empirical investigation, based on the 4R model (Håkansson, Waluszewski, 2002), is focused on how interfaces between physical and organisational resources related to the supply and use of the new microwave-based treatment method were emerging, alternatively were hindered from emerging, and what role the purchasing policy had in this process. A main conclusion made in the paper is that as long as the basic policy foundation is the belief that a supplier-public user interaction shall be as close to a traditional market as possible, the “thick” interaction, recognised as being critical for renewal of resources, will be seriously limited.


Strategic Sourcing Development–Emerging Resource Combination and Knowledge Interaction



Authors


Christian Koch, Claus Jørgensen , John Bang Mathiasen

Abstract


This paper contributes to the understanding of strategic sourcing through resource combination, with focus on knowledge interactions. The IMP approach, and especially the resource combination framework, views knowledge interaction as embedded in business relationships. Knowledge is understood as having soft and hard aspects and involving both inter- and intra-organizational interactions, as well as emergent physical and organizational resource combinations, such as IT systems, aimed at enabling virtual organizing, and humans acting as boundary spanners.Two case studies of enterprise journeys are conducted. Especially the last five years both companies experience change in the resource combination, first the physical and then the organizational, adjusting the mechanisms to improve knowledge interaction and competence within their value chain and inter- and intra-organizational processes. One SME, re-organizes its processes and integrates knowledge through a specific resource and knowledge interaction setup and breaks out of the SME category; the other, medium sized, de-organizes into an SME and does some resource combination through virtual organizational elements, emphasizing virtual knowledge interaction through IT systems and through the concentration of offshored activities using physical, intermediary control elements. As resource combination and knowledge interaction becomes more complex, the companies shift from more loose relationships to tighter subsidiary types.


Supply Side Organising – Linking Three Overlapping Domains



Authors


Ingrid Hessel & Lars-Erik Gadde

Abstract


This paper addresses organising issues at the supply side of companies. Recent developments of the business landscape, in terms of specialisation and partnering, have made purchasing and the supply side increasingly significant. Supply side organising includes purchasing arrangements in the buying company, as well as organising in relation to individual suppliers and the entire supplier base. Previous research has focused on intra-organisational issues with scant attention to external conditions. The aim of this study is to identify a set of conceptual building-blocks to serve as guidelines for the analysis of internal and external organising and the interplay between them. Concepts and models rooted in the industrial network model and an extensive single case study are used iteratively to develop the resulting framework for analysis of supply side organising.


Integration barriers for purchasing organisation in a large construction company: towards requisite disintegration



Authors


Frödell, M., Josephson, P.-E. and Koch, C.

Abstract


Developing the purchasing organisation is an ongoing challenge for large contractors where internal and external perspectives need to interplay. The aim of this paper is two-fold: firstly, the development of a theoretical framework to characterise the purchasing organisation and secondly, to analyse the limited adoption of integrated purchasing through an analysis of barriers to integration. The theoretical standpoint is underpinned by purchasing organisation theory and by literature on internal and external integration as well as barriers to integration. Based on a two-year case study, the paper presents the status of the purchasing organisation and the barriers to further integration as originating from the strategic purchasers of the contractor. The perceived barriers question full integration internally and externally. The perceived barriers encompass low framework agreement status compared to orders, inconsistent ways of working in the projects and dispersed geographical location and sub-markets. The barriers to integration stem from both attitudinal and industrial matters, whilst institutional barriers are not identified. The paper therefore proposes a differentiated, requisitely disintegrated, purchasing organisation designed to manage the diverse supplier population. In contrast to those advocating a tighter internal and external integration, this paper suggests a requisite balance between integration and specialisation of the purchasing activities.


Supply network development: A case of developing a supply base in China



Authors


Nojan Najafi

Abstract


In recent years, the need for cost reductions has made moving production abroad and sourcing from low cost countries very popular among Western companies (Lewin & Peeters, 2006). It has become a trend or a ”business recipe” (Araujo & Gadde, 2009). And yet as firms establish and expand their sourcing, marketing, R&D, manufacturing and distribution in low cost countries, many also face difficulties that result in failure of their offshore activities (Kinkel & Maloca, 2009). In this study, the development of a Swedish firm’s supply network in China is investigated in the form of a single in-depth case study, by investigating how economies of scale, scope, integration and innovation emerge in the process of developing supply networks. It is concluded that research in the field of low cost country sourcing can benefit from taking a ”supply network development” view rather than regarding low-cost country sourcing as the phenomenon. This would make it possible to open up to a wider scope of economies than merely cheaper product acquisition, so that firms can benefit from economies at different points as their supply networks develop, since they coexist and pursuing one can lead to opportunities to exploit the others.


Beyond dyadic supplier development efforts: The multiple roles of the network in bringing about supplier development



Authors


Tina Bjørnevik Aune, Elsebeth Holmen, Ann-Charlott Pedersen

Abstract


Past studies of supplier development have focused on the dyadic relationships between the buyer and its suppliers. However, these dyads do not capture the influence of the network in which the supplier development efforts are embedded. Based on a single case study of a supplier and the supplier development efforts of its six most important customers, we contribute to the literature on supplier development by showing how the network can play a role in supplier development. We propose and discuss three different strategies a buying company can employ in order to develop its suppliers: indirect and peripheral; direct and central; direct and networking. Our findings have managerial implications for buying companies that wish to gain insight into how supplier development can be conducted, for the suppliers that are developed, and for companies in the network to which the supplier development efforts are connected.