Volume 5, Number 3, 2005

How Many Vendors Does It Take to Screw Down a Price? A Primer on Competition ........................................... 291
J. M. Keisler and W. A. Buehring

SYMPOSIUM

Symposium on E-Procurement in Public Sector: Part I ................................................................................................ 318
A. Ancarani

Symposium Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................... 319
A. Ancarani

The E-Procurement Experience in Italian Universities ................................................................................................. 323
P. Barbieri and A. Zanoni

Analysis of Public E-Procurement Web Site Accessibility ............................................................................................ 344
G. Bruno, E. Esposito, M. Mastroianni and D. Vellutino

Key Issues in E-Procurement: Procurement Implementation and Operation in The Public Sector .................... 367
S. R. Croom and A. Brandon-Jones

PRACTITIONERS’ CORNER

Strategic Procurement in the Public Sector: A Mask for Financial and Administrative Policy................................. 388
D. Matthews

USEFUL REPRINTS

Competitive Sourcing: Greater Emphasis Needed on Increasing Efficiency And Improving Performance ....... 401
U. S. Government Accountability Office

BOOK REVIEW

Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Renewal in Government ................................................................ 442
A. J. Sementelli

ABSTRACT. As government responds to demands to become more efficient and effective, procurement professionals are expected to focus primarily on the strategic aspects of procurement and less on routine transactions. In reality, public procurement masks the ability of government to transform taxes and institutions at federal, state and local levels, ostensibly for the public good. Public purchasers are told by their professional institutions and their private sector peers to be more proactive and less reactive in order to add greater value to their organization. However, tradition has decreed that procurement processes are managed by “unglamorous individuals” (Stewart, 1994) who are required, first and foremost, to satisfy the complex accountability processes of the government, an administrative principle, which is reinforced by recent failures of corporate financial governance. Furthermore, a search of contemporary literature shows little evidence that public procurement has penetrated the theoretical boundaries of public management or strategic management despite the profession’s efforts over more than a decade to develop its profile. This paper explores two contemporary dilemmas: the boundaries of public procurement within the context of public administration and the mask of public accountability, which impedes the integration of public procurement into public administration (PA) and strategic theory.

ABSTRACT. This study focuses on the main problems of the design and implementation of e-procurement in Italian Universities. We look at the main features of e-procurement in a university environment, through an analysis of various documents and reports, together with interviews with some of the key actors involved. The most important aspects of its adoption and the consequences for process management and organization itself are highlighted. The results of those phases of the project that have already been implemented (the “pilot projects”) are discussed. We conclude by drawing up an overall assessment of the actual status of the project.

ABSTRACT. This paper presents the analysis from a study into the key lessons learned from e-procurement implementation across a range of UK public sector organisations. The literature relating to e-procurement implementation and operation is reviewed, identifying five main themes addressed by the current literature: impact on cost efficiency; the impact on the form and nature of supplier transaction; e-procurement system implementation; broader IT infrastructure issues; and the behavioural and relational impact of eprocurement. and reflections of both ‘early’ and ‘late’ adopters of e-procurement. Seven key lessons are drawn from the study and presented here. We conclude by proposing areas for further research, including the need for research into failed eprocurement projects.

ABSTRACT. When creating a private market to provide a public good, government agencies can influence the market’s competitive characteristics. Markets have predictable, often counter-intuitive, behaviors. Attempts to foster competition can increase or decrease costs, depending on the specific details of the procurement situation and the specific implementation. We modeled impacts of competition where there are economies of scale and government is obligated to purchase a fixed total quantity of a good. This model estimates cost savings from several alternative plans for a buyer exploring competitive procurement. The results indicate the approximate magnitude of changes in cost that would be associated with changes in the market structure within which such procurement occurs.

ABSTRACT. A vast amount of literature has highlighted that accessibility isbecoming crucial in evaluating e-procurement web site effectiveness. In thiscontext, this paper shows some results of multidisciplinary research whose aimis to identify a model to evaluate e-procurement web site accessibility. Thespecific goal is to identify a group of web site attributes and characteristics thatcan be measured using quantitative indicators. For this purpose, a model based on a three-level hierarchical system has been introduced. The proposed model has been used to evaluate three Italian public e-procurement web sites. Finally, the conclusions and some indications on future developments of research are illustrated.

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