The Future of Purchasing and Supply Management Research: About Relevance and Rigor

By van Weele, Arian J.; van Raaij, Erik M. | Journal of Supply Chain Management, January 2014 | Go to article overview

The Future of Purchasing and Supply Management Research: About Relevance and Rigor


van Weele, Arian J., van Raaij, Erik M., Journal of Supply Chain Management


INTRODUCTION

This article addresses the relevance and rigor of academic research in purchasing and supply management (PSM). We discuss relevance in light of the strategic role of purchasing. First, we provide a demarcation of the PSM domain. Next, we present several findings related to the role and importance of this domain in mainstream strategic management literature. Then, we present an overview of contemporary academic research in purchasing. We demonstrate that PSM has made considerable progress in terms of academic contributions. However, these contributions do not necessarily reflect strategic business issues and concepts. We explore why this situation exists and whether this situation should be changed--and if so, what routes for future research will be available. An important topic, when addressing its relevance, is purchasing and supply research rigor. Various shortcomings in contemporary academic PSM research are discussed. Based upon our discussion, we propose some avenues to improve both PSM research relevance and rigor to the benefit of business practitioners, researchers, and editors of academic journals.

PSM: DEMARCATION OF THE FIELD (1)

PSM is the discipline that is concerned with the management of external resources--goods, services, capabilities, and knowledge--that are necessary for running, maintaining, and managing the primary and support processes of a firm at the most favorable conditions (Van Weele, 2010). Early references to the function go as far back as 1832, and times of difficult supply, such as wars and economic recessions, have helped to establish PSM as a management discipline (Leenders & Fearon, 2008). Accordingly, the economic recession and supply disruptions of the 1970s put the management of external resources high on the agenda of firms (Kraljic, 1983; Monczka, Handfield, Guinipero, Patterson, & Waters, 2010). This was also the time that transaction cost economics (TCE) emphasized cost efficiency in decisions about the boundary of the firm and the governance of supplier relationships (Williamson, 1981, 1991). Influenced by such developments, PSM has traditionally had a strong focus on cost reduction, through excellent negotiating tactics and competitive contracting. This cost focus still holds today for many researchers and practitioners, many of whom argue that PSM's added value predominantly lies in cost reduction (Anderson, Thomson, & Wynstra, 2000; Chen, Paulraj, & Lado, 2004; Gonzalez-Benito, 2007).

Due to the increased outsourcing of business activities, PSM has developed into a functional domain of strategic relevance (Carr & Pearson, 1999; Carter, Monczka, Slaight, & Swan, 2000; Ellram & Carr, 1994; Gadde & Hakansson, 1994; Ogden, Petersen, Carter, & Monczka, 2005). As suppliers gradually became more important for the competitive positioning of the firm, research in the field examined topics such as supplier relationship management (Gelderman, 2003), collaborative networks (Holmen, Pedersen, & Jansen, 2007; Joshi, 2009; Spekman & Carraway, 2006), and early supplier involvement in new product development (Choi, Wu, Ellram, & Koka, 2002; Van Echtelt, 2004; Wynstra, 1998). The term "strategic purchasing" emerged in the literature (Ellram & Carr, 1994), but developed into a concept with a strong focus on the integration of the PSM function with other functional domains within the firm and the alignment of purchasing and supply objectives with corporate objectives (Carr & Pearson, 1999; Wolf, 2005). The strategic positioning of the discipline appears to focus more on the value-added of the "purchasing function" than the value-added of suppliers. The current research and literature remain inconclusive about the nature of the contribution firms may want to extract from their suppliers. This is why the dominant focus of the purchasing and supply domain still is on purchasing's "bottom line" impact through cost savings, quality improvement, and technology development (Trent & Monczka, 1998). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Future of Purchasing and Supply Management Research: About Relevance and Rigor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.