Advancing Public Procurement:
Practices, Innovation and Knowledge Sharing
Khi V. Thai
Public procurement is continuing to evolve both conceptually and organizationally. That evolution accelerated during the 1990s as governments at all levels came under increasing pressures to “do more with less.” Indeed, all governmental entities of rich and poor countries are struggling in the face of: unrelenting budget constraints; government downsizing; public demand for increased transparency in public procurement; and greater concerns about efficiency, fairness and equity. Additionally, public procurement professionals have faced a constantly changing environment typified by rapidly emerging technologies, increasing product choice, environment concerns, and the complexities of international and regional trading agreements. Further, policy makers have increasingly used public procurement as a tool to achieve socioeconomic goals.
In this environment, public procurement has become much more complex than ever before, and public procurement officials must deal with a broad range of issues. They have been walking on a tight rope in:
- Balancing the dynamic tension between (a) competing
socioeconomic objectives, and (b) national economic interests and global competition as required by regional and international trade agreements;
- Satisfying the requirements of fairness, equity and transparency; - Maintaining an overarching focus on maximizing competition; and - Utilizing new technology to enhance procurement efficiency,
including e-procurement and purchase cards.
CONTENTS OF THE BOOK
Twenty-one studies or papers (hereafter called “chapters”) were selected, via a rigorous peer review process, on the basis of scholarship. Thus, it is expected that they cover a variety of research issues. However, three major procurement issues have been the focuses of fourteen chapters: procurement partnership and
cooperatives (five chapters), procurement regulations and ethics (four chapters), and public procurement as a policy tool (five chapters). The remaining seven chapters address other public procurement issues. By no means do the above identified themes reflect scientifically the current trends of research interests. Actually, there are a good number of papers presented at the conference which focus on many critical procurement concerns, including procurement reforms, transparency concerns, e-procurement, and procurement approaches or techniques.
Partnerships and Collaborative Procurement in the Public Sector The first five chapters of the book explore different collaborative procurement and public-private partnership arrangements.
Collaboration or cooperation can be formed in both sides of public procurement: the demand (or buyers) side and the supply (or
suppliers) side. The reader will be able to draw differences and similarities in this area of procurement practices and can draw of lessons.
In Chapter 2, “Organizing for Collaborative Procurement: An Initial Conceptual Framework,” Elmer Bakker, Helen Walker, and Christine Harland provide an overview of different collaborative procurement forms that are recognized in literature and practices, and provide a conceptual framework to help assess when to use which form. The framework is built on literature on collaborative procurement and organization and contingency theory. Having examined a range of factors, uncertainty of the environment and the newness and
importance of the buying need are argued to be the main contingency factors in determining the ideal collaborative procurement form. The resulting decision-making framework requires empirical testing. According to the authors, however, when to use which collaborative procurement form is not yet clear.
Chapter 1: ADVANCING PUBLIC PROCUREMENT: PRACTICES, INNOVATION & KNOWLEDGE-SHARING
In Chapter 3, “Using Agency Theory to Model Cooperative Public Purchasing,” Cliff McCue...