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Theory in public procurement research

Flynn, Anthony ORCID: and Davis, Paul 2014. Theory in public procurement research. Journal of Public Procurement 14 (21) , pp. 139-180.

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This paper examines the role of theory in public procurement research. Theoretical rigour is integral to management science, yet little is known on the extent and form of theory in public procurement. With the field starting to mature, addressing this issue is timely. From conducting a systematic literature review we find that 29 percent of articles are theoretically grounded, with the incidence of theory having increased in recent years. Economic, sociological, psychological, and management theories are all in evidence, but micro-economic theories predominate. Our findings also show that survey reporting and case studies account for almost half of all studies; procurement research is focused on organizational-level aspects more than regulatory-policy issues or public buyers; and studies to date have largely emanated from the North American and European regions. The contribution of this paper lies in clarifying the theoretical underpinnings of public procurement. Out of this we highlight the need for greater theoretical rigour, point to the under-use and even absence of theories that could have high validity and utility, and suggest a narrowing of research foci.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Publisher: PrAcademic Press
ISSN: 1535-0118
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 October 2016
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 13:18

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