A Critical and Analytical Study of Dynamic Capabilities in Strategic Procurement: The Case of Six Welsh Local Authorities

  • Vera Ndrecaj

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis extends the concept of dynamic capabilities (DCs) in the context of public procurement (PP) in six Welsh Local Authorities (WLAs). This is the first attempt to link the concept of DCs with strategic public-sector procurement. Drawing from both perspectives, this study endeavours to examine DCs in the light of strategic public procurement to understand “How LAs use DCs in term of strategic conversion processes”.

    The existing literature indicates that DCs has become a prevalent theoretical framework in the private sector (Pablo et al., 2007; Klarner et al., 2001; Osborn et al., 2008) to understand how
    organisations enhance performance and effectiveness in a rapidly changing environment (Teece et al., 1997; Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000; Pierce et al., 2002; Teece 2007) however, it has not yet been applied outside the private sector. The limited literature that studies DCs in the public sector has been discovered but none of the studies investigated DCs in a public sector procurement context. These studies suggest that DCs hold potential for the public-sector organisation (Lee, 2001; Carmeli and Trishle, 2004; Jones et al., 2005; Pablou et al., 2007).

    A qualitative method using interpretive theoretical paradigm has been implemented with inductive logical approach combined with robust multiple case studies strategy. The empirical investigation comprises eleven semi-structured interviews with senior procurement experts that have a strategic role in the organisation providing insights on how they use DCs in strategic conversion. The collated data were analysed using both; thematic analysis (primary data) and content analysis (secondary data). For an analytical purpose this thesis disaggregates three core processes of the DCs: sensing, seizing and transforming drawing upon Teece’s (2007) conceptual framework.

    Findings explicate microfoundations of DCs in public sector procurement, demonstrating potential to become a new strategic approach, guiding public sector organisations how to operate successfully in a dynamic, complex environment through strategic conversion of high-order procurement capabilities. Findings indicates that LAs may not be ready yet to implement such a futuristic approach since the maturity of procurement is yet to reach a strategic form – it is only something that large local authorities have recently embraced. This remain even challenging for small local authorities which, in some degree their approach to procurement seems to go backwards to the transactional procurement. Achieving such change is likely to require interagency cooperation (“new combinations”) and the ability to execute (“sensing”), not just talk. New futuristic model where LAs are run more like an enterprise has a little better chance of developing and deploying DCs in part because of the organisational culture and the latitude that leaders of these Authorities have.

    This study offers DCs as an emerging paradigm of modern public sector procurement making three primary contributions to the body of knowledge. The study extends existing work on DCs
    in public sector organisation adding to theoretical development. The research strategy employed provides empirical evidence. Analysis reveals that WLAs with strong sensing, seizing and transforming capabilities are more leaning to support superior long-term procurement performance. The conceptual framework emerged from this study (Figure 21) helps understanding three strategic management activities; sensing, seizing and transforming in public-sector procurement enhancing flexibility and ability to address rapidly changing environment.
    Date of AwardNov 2018
    Original languageEnglish

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