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Supplier development and public procurement: allies, coaches and bedfellows

David Mark McKevitt (Department of Management and Marketing, University College Cork, Cork, Republic of Ireland)
Paul Davis (Department of Management, Dublin City University, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




Using the lens of mentoring theory the authors test the extent to which public buyers informally support suppliers and the influence of organisational context on mentoring support. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Principal component analysis was used to analyse questionnaire responses from over 300 public buyers in Ireland. Cluster analysis produced three mentor profiles.


The findings show a positive relationship between organisations that take a strategic approach to suppliers and buyers who offer career and psychosocial support to suppliers. However, those organisations that lack a strategic perspective of suppliers saw buyers offer political support and coaching.

Research limitations/implications

The implications are that coaching and political support may compensate for deficits in organisational support for suppliers generally. The findings contribute to a growing literature on informal interaction opportunities in public procurement.


To date research of supplier development is limited to formal developmental activities and in the context of private sector buyer-supplier relationships.



Mark McKevitt, D. and Davis, P. (2014), "Supplier development and public procurement: allies, coaches and bedfellows", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 27 No. 7, pp. 550-563.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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