Structuring the phenomenon of procurement digitalisation: contexts, interventions and mechanisms

Harri Lorentz*, Anna Aminoff, Riikka Kaipia, Jagjit Singh Srai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The study develops a structure for procurement digitalisation by identifying its context drivers, technology interventions and performance-inducing mechanisms and exploring the linkages between these variables.

The study draws on rich interview and workshop data on 48 digital intervention projects, as reflected by mental models of managers from 12 case organisations in manufacturing, retail and service sectors. Supported by an a priori structure, the study employs an abductive cross-case analysis approach.

Results suggest several categories within the elements of context, intervention and mechanism to structure procurement digitalisation and the linkages between them. Seven propositions that reflect digitalisation strategy options in procurement are developed regarding the linkages. Internal complexity dominantly drives procurement digitalisation, motivating communication support and process structuring interventions, which in turn aim at procurement coordination and control as well as process improvement. External coercive pressure and external dynamism also drive interventions for information processing and decision aiding, which appear to be linked with supply market knowledge, strategic alignment and supplier capability assessment. Therefore, an internal–external dichotomy is observed as the main thrust of procurement digitalisation.

Practical implications
The study supports decision makers in developing digitalisation strategy options for different procurement contexts. The results also raise awareness of a possible bias in existing strategies for procurement digitalisation.

A novel forward-looking approach is employed to enable the design and construction of systems that do not yet exist by focusing on the mental models of managers in a systematic way.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)157-192
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 13.01.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Digitalisation
  • Procurement
  • Purchasing and supply management
  • Case study

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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