Corporate Purchasing and Digital Platforms: An Empirical Study on the Effect of E-procurement on Compliant Purchasing Behavior in Large Nordic Organizations

Martin Vilhelm Næss & Ole Kristian Stakkeland

Student thesis: Master thesis


Organizations are increasingly recognizing the strategic and value-adding role of the procurement function. One of the tasks the function carries out aims to minimize the issue of maverick buying, also known as off-contract purchasing. Maverick buying undermines the function’s efforts and is typically costly to the organization. Digital solutions, more specifically e-procurement platforms are becoming increasingly important tools that the function utilizes in order to mitigate the problem. One of the issues with e-procurement platforms is the perceived lack of user-friendliness, which leads to low platform adoption and underutilization. In other words, higher levels of user adoption would lead to improved purchasing compliance and vice versa.
Applying a quantitative approach, this paper gives support to existing literature stating that the existence of an e-procurement platform remedies maverick buying. Furthermore, this paper extends existing literature by showing that consumer-centricity is an important feature that helps explain e-procurement adoption. After collecting primary data through a survey distributed to employees with purchasing responsibilities in large Nordic organizations, several regression models were developed. By extending the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to include key characteristics from best-in-class e-commerce platforms, the main model indicates the importance of user-oriented features in explaining e-procurement adoption, and thus purchasing compliance. This suggests that users have similar expectations toward the user-experience of e- procurement platforms and e-commerce platforms.
In practical terms, the findings in this paper emphasize the importance of having an e- procurement platform with a user-oriented focus. This can only be achieved if end-users are included in the process of acquiring or designing the e-procurement platform at an early stage. Knowing that e-procurement remedies maverick buying, and that this effect increases by including consumer-centric features, procurement departments should seek inspiration from successful e-commerce platforms. This is likely to positively affect organizational performance by reducing maverick buying through better technology utilization.

Educations, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages109