Procuring Complex Products and Services: An Assessment of Acquisition Lifecycle Strategies and Practices

Forster, R
(2018) Procuring Complex Products and Services: An Assessment of Acquisition Lifecycle Strategies and Practices. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This research examined the processes that define the acquisition lifecycles of organisations procuring major assets in complex environments. The research used a multiple case study approach within an abductive research design in order to explore the approaches taken towards solving the problem of effectively procuring within these complex contexts. High-profile, public and private organisations operating in the Defence, Nuclear, Local Government, Health, Manufacturing and Technology sectors are analysed over a four year period. The research utilised a novel means of cross-case examination based on the Zachman enterprise mapping technique in order to derive a comprehensive understanding of processes embedded in complex organisations’ acquisition lifecycles. The requirement for complex contracting for an increasingly diverse range of products and services continues to grow, particularly in the public sector where organisations heavily focus on their core competencies and procure a significant proportion of their requirements from the private sector. Thus this work seeks to address increasing calls for actionable insights from major UK institutions and the academic literature. Current work into the area has been described as ‘provider-active. This work seeks to redress this by focusing on generating insights from the procurer’s perspective. The research identified 18 categories of potential process difference amongst the cases of complex procurers. The research suggests that differences within these 18 categories explain the majority of functional differences emerging from the body of cases, and thus can act as a means by which organisations could benchmark against other organisations operating within a PCP (Procuring Complex Performance) domain. By considering differences in these categories the work highlights three major types of complex procurer: partially-enabled reactors, moderately-enabled conformers and fully-enabled architects. These three categories vary in their capacity to manage complex performance, the complexity of their environments as well as the perceived effectiveness of their current acquisition lifecycle practices. This classification forms a major theoretical contribution of the thesis. The research has articulated the strategic positions taken toward procuring complex products and services within each case by identifying and analysing the processes embedded along the entirety of the acquisition lifecycle that are classified in the aforementioned categories. In doing so, the research provides both theoretical knowledge to the current academic literature, most notably PCP, as well as having provided actionable insights of benefit to procurement practitioners and policy makers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Procurement, acquisition, complex, contracting, Procuring Complex Performance (PCP)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2019 12:36
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2021 07:12
DOI: 10.17638/03028744