The ‘transaction X-ray’: understanding construction procurement

Aitken, A. and Paton, R. A. (2016) The ‘transaction X-ray’: understanding construction procurement. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law, 169(3), pp. 115-123. (doi:10.1680/jmapl.15.00022)

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This paper presents the results of a case study, the Construction Case, which examines procurement practices within the UK construction supply chain and compares these with a more general UK sample taken from non-construction sectors. Using a qualitative methodology, the approaches to relationship management and buyer value perception are graphically mapped, using an innovative ‘transaction X-ray’ technique. The Construction Case considers procurement transactions conducted at various points along the construction value chain: the client, the construction firm and the specialist contractor. Recognising that the research design favours a small sample size, and thus limits generalisability beyond the boundaries of the case, the paper finds that construction industry procurement operates in an adversarial and largely arm’s-length manner. While procurement practice is found to share common aspects with other industrial sectors, the case demonstrates that the construction industry is more adversarial and less collaborative than is the average found across the other sectors examined. The paper outlines a useful framework whereby construction practitioners can evaluate elements of procurement practice within their own organisations, and also signposts the required direction for future research in order to reflect the gap, suggested by the case, between current normative theory and construction procurement practice.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Paton, Professor Robert and Aitken, Dr Alan
Authors: Aitken, A., and Paton, R. A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law
ISSN (Online):1751-4312
Published Online:16 February 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 ICE Publishing
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law 169(3): 115-123
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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