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Collaborative purchasing of complex technologies in healthcare: Implications for alignment strategies

Chiara Gobbi (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Juliana Hsuan (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how buyers and the vendors pursue alignment in collaborative purchasing (CP) of complex medical technologies.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a literature review in CP, the paper identify factors for shareholder alignment (i.e. aligning the needs of the buyers within the purchasing group) and customer alignment (i.e. aligning buyers’ needs with the vendors offering strategies) and investigate how they manifest in the case of CP of complex technology in the Danish National Healthcare System.

Findings

Shareholder alignment requires appropriate management of the relationships, expertise and guidance in simplifying procedures and effective management of the purchasing group. Customer alignment is facilitated by buyers’ understating of the vendor’s design options, which are moderated by the vendor’s design strategies.

Research limitations/implications

The findings and generalizations from a single case study are limited to the complexity of the purchased technology and the specific cultural context. However the paper represents the first explorative study that poses the attention on the relevance of shareholder and customer alignment in CP.

Practical implications

The study can offer hospitals, vendors, governmental and regional institutions a better understanding about the alignment mechanisms for successful implementation of CP and how to avoid pitfalls.

Originality/value

Literature on CP is scarce as there are virtually no contributions that debate the key elements and tradeoffs that need to be considered for strategic alignment. The study addresses this gap.

Keywords

Citation

Gobbi, C. and Hsuan, J. (2015), "Collaborative purchasing of complex technologies in healthcare: Implications for alignment strategies", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 430-455. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-08-2013-0362

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited