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Strategic sourcing management’s mindset: strategic sourcing orientation and its implications

Reham Eltantawy (Department of Marketing and Logistics, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
Larry Giunipero (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Robert Handfield (Department of Business Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 3 November 2014




Recently, focus in strategic sourcing (SS) has shifted from the exchange of tangible goods toward the exchange of intangibles, such as specialized skills, knowledge, and processes. The purpose of this paper is to aim to delineate the domain of, and operationally test, strategic sourcing orientation (SSO); a management philosophy directed at identifying and meeting the needs and goals of SS.


Using a mixed-methods research design and underpinned by a service dominant logic (SDL) inspired resource-based view (RBV), the authors first use the qualitative input of 41 top sourcing executives in four focus groups to derive four first-order “orientations” (learning, performance, planning, and relational-process) that were found to reflect SSO. Second, the authors propose a theoretically grounded operationalization of SSO derived from the qualitative data and extant literature. A sample of 174 top sourcing executives was used to test the proposed SSO and its impact on SS reputation, supplier management, and performance outcomes.


The results indicate strong support for the theorized SSO and its impact on SS reputation and supplier management, and, consequently, on performance outcomes.


While many firms encourage a culture to enable SS to realize enhanced performance, research has failed to provide a holistic account of this orientation. This study employs a mixed-methods research design to conceptualize and operationalize such orientation.



Eltantawy, R., Giunipero, L. and Handfield, R. (2014), "Strategic sourcing management’s mindset: strategic sourcing orientation and its implications", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 44 No. 10, pp. 768-795.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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