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The Dynamics of Procurement Management - A Complexity Approach

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“How can we understand the dynamics of procurement management?” An answer to this question haspredominantly been explained by procurement management experiencing dissatisfaction with thestatus quo, where the procurement organisation was viewed from other entities in the company as aninsignificant, reactive and an administrative part of the business. The potential, however, for theprocurement organisation to be significant in the company was argued to be vast (Ammer 1989,Ellram & Carr 1994, Van Weele 2005). In order to change the situation of the procurementorganisation, procurement management was informed that they should in gradual steps develop theprocurement organisation towards more sophistication and significance (Reck & Long 1988)producing strategies that were aligned with the overall company strategy including the developmentof policies, procedures, systems, tools and processes (Cousins 2002, Cousins et al 2008). This processchanged the perspective of the procurement organisation which among other things, allowed theprocurement entity to contribute to the implementation of the concept of supply chain management(Freeman & Cavinato 1990). Ever since I first got familiar with the practices of procurement and itsmanagement, I have been puzzled by its complexity. At the same time, I have wondered about howthe same space of complexity in the procurement management domain literature has explained thesame practices by reductionism, smoothness and simplicity as just described.

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Peter Holm Andreasen

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