Institutional responses to electronic procurement in the public sector

Doherty, Neil F; McConnell, Danny and Ellis-Chadwick, Fiona (2013). Institutional responses to electronic procurement in the public sector. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 26(6) pp. 495–515.




Purpose: The primary aim of the research presented in this paper is to address the gap in the literature with regard to the factors that affect the uptake and application of e-procurement within the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach: This analysis was achieved through five in-depth case studies – based upon extensive interviews, observation and documentation reviews - conducted within central and local government organisations.

Findings: The study shows that despite being very different in terms of their form and function, each of our five case study organisations had achieved similar levels of progress in terms of their adoption of e-procurement technologies. In short every organisation had already adopted BACS, all five were also actively planning to implement: e-tendering; e-award; e-contract and e-catalogue systems, but none had any intention of adopting e-marketplaces or e-auctions.

Research limitation/implications: The results of this study will help individual organisations to better understand their current situations and the barriers that will need to be overcome before they can significantly expand their adoption of e-procurement technologies.

Originality/value: In addition to presenting one of the first detailed studies of the adoption of e-procurement technologies, this study also breaks new ground through its use of the lens of "Institutional theory" to help interpret the findings.

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