Cooperative purchasing in humanitarian supply chains: promises and pitfalls

Heidi Herlin, Ala Pazirandeh

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


    Purpose - Cooperative purchasing is gaining popularity. Potential benefits include economies of scale, improved buyer-supplier relationships, better transparency and more efficient information exchange. However, literature notes several instances of such cooperation not having the expected outcomes. In this study, we came across an exemplary situation, and aimed to further the understanding of the drivers and barriers of cooperative purchasing.
    Design/methodology/approach - A single case study of joint purchasing of freight forwarding services among a group of humanitarian organizations was conducted. Interview respondents represent both buyer and supplier perspectives and provide insight into the practice and consequences of cooperative purchasing.
    Findings - Findings shed light on the reasons behind joint purchasing, as well as pros and cons of the process. In particular, our study highlights some potential drawbacks of and barriers to the strategy.
    Research limitations/implications - The research is limited to the boundaries of a single case study including the perceptive view of respondents interviewed.
    Practical implications - The findings of the study provide insights for organizations aiming to practice cooperative purchasing. The results are also particularly relevant for the case agencies to better understand the advantages and disadvantages of their initiative.
    Social implications - When successful, cooperative purchasing has the potential to improve the performance of participating agencies. This study provides important insights into what to consider when engaging in cooperative purchasing in order to avoid pitfalls.
    Originality/value - A structured literature review showed theoretical inconsistency regarding the value of cooperative purchasing. This study draws on and adds to the existing literature by using an empirical example that illustrates both the attractiveness and inherent complexity of a cooperative purchasing process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings NOFOMA 2013
    Publication date2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
    Event2013 Annual Conference of Nordic Logistics Research Network (NOFOMA) - Gothenburg, Sweden
    Duration: 03.06.201305.06.2013
    Conference number: 2013


    • 512 Business and Management

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