Perceived e-procurement quality : exploring and measuring the construct at a tactical level within the public sector
E-procurement has been heralded as a critical enabler in reducing procurement expenditure. However, many businesses report disappointing results from e-procurement implementation, partly because end-users fail to comply with systems or contracts. End-user perceptions of e-procurement quality are considered an important driver of both system and contract compliance. However, very little is written about what e-procurement quality is and how it might be measured.\ud \ud This thesis presents the findings of a study exploring e-procurement quality from an end-user perspective (Perceived EPQ). The researcher seeks to develop a scale to measure the construct. In doing so, it is necessary to identify the components and structure of Perceived EPQ, and to examine how measurement may be operationalised. The study presents analysis to answer three research questions:\ud \ud RQ1: What are the components of Perceived EPQ?\ud RQ2: What is the structure of Perceived EPQ?\ud RQ3: How can Perceived EPQ measurement be operationalised?\ud \ud Different areas of literature are examined to determine how Perceived EPQ may be theoretically and operationally defined. Disconfirmation theory, found in much of the Service Quality literature, conceptually underpins Perceived EPQ. At an operational level, the construct is partly informed by E-Procurement, Internal Service Quality, Information Systems Quality and E-Service Quality literature, but most importantly by empirical study.\ud \ud A case study approach, using mixed methods, is applied to identify the components and structure of Perceived EPQ. The main study has been carried out in four U.K. public sector organisations. The public sector has been selected, partly because government targets for e-procurement in 2005 mean that the issue is high on the agenda of local authorities nationwide. This has been a significant enabler in gaining access to suitable organisations. In addition, a replication study has been carried out in a Dutch university. Selecting a non-U.K. case allows an assessment of how well research findings hold up in a distinctly different research context. Empirical analysis suggests a construct made up of 30 components, which are incorporated in a proposed EPQ Scale. These variables group into six dimensions – Training, Professionalism, Processing, Content, Usability, and Specification. The research also examines contingencies for managers to consider when selecting the most appropriate method for measuring Perceived EPQ.\ud \ud This study is the first to empirically examine Perceived E-Procurement Quality and to develop a tool for its measurement. The conceptual model proposed illustrates the importance of Perceived EPQ in driving e-procurement compliance and ultimately procurement expenditure. The measurement tool – the EPQ Scale – is a useful diagnostic instrument which can highlight areas of weakness in e-procurement delivery. Finally, the contingency approach allows managers to select the most appropriate method of construct measurement based on their own objectives.\ud \ud The research has generated new research questions and the adoption of findings by a number of practitioners and academics suggests this is an area with great potential for future study. Further work is already underway testing research findings from this study and exploring new areas related to Perceived EPQ.
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