Flexibility and sustainability priorities in procurement: practices, relationships and trade-offs

Sajad Fayezi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


This paper aims to contribute to our understanding of developing flexible and sustainable procurement function. While the importance of both flexibility and sustainability has been stressed within the literature, investigations on the relationship between flexibility and sustainability and their trade-offs are scarce. Using a rigorous multiple case study approach this study identifies the elements that constitute the so-called procurement decision environment within which procurement professionals make decisions. This procurement decision environment sheds further light on the complexities, rhetorics and realities of building a flexible and sustainable procurement. This is discussed through developing a conceptual model that is grounded on the analysis of the qualitative data. In this regard, supply chain, organsiational and functional decision drivers are identified as substantially impact the procurement decisions associated with flexibility and sustainability trade-offs. The paper also uses institutional theory and transaction cost economics to explain how institutional distance and total cost consideration moderate the influence of decision drivers in relation to managing flexibility and sustainability trade-offs. The findings show that managers make informed decisions about the flexibility-sustainability trade-offs and this is largely characterised by the institutional and transactional interpretations of the decision drivers. Therefore, flexibility and sustainability are interdepended priorities for the procurement functions. Balancing the flexibility-sustainability trade-offs is contingent or whether these priorities contribute to economising the total cost of ownership.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2016 - Anaheim, United States of America
Duration: 5 Aug 20169 Aug 2016
Conference number: 76th


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2016
Abbreviated titleAoM 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address

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