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Twenty-first century procurement strategies: analysing networks of inter-firm relationships

Author Stephen Pryke, University College London
Summary Pressure for reform is increasingly being applied by the major clients of the UK construction industry. Analysis and recommendations have been proffered through the publication of "Constructing the Team" (Latham,1994)and "Rethinking Construction"(Egan,1998).The innovative procurement and management systems that the industry has developed in collaboration with its clients,need a rigorous and quantifiable means of analysis in order to evaluate the nature and effects of the changes taking place. These innovative systems relate to partnering,supply chain management and the use of work clusters. Major clients involved in this study were British Airports Authority,Essex County Council,MEPC plc,The Ministry of Defence and Slough Estates plc. The paper deals with detailed case studies involving innovative procurement in both private sector and public sectors.The shortcomings of existing means of analysing and representing procurement and project management systems are identified and the use of social network analysis (SNA)is discussed as an alternative approach. The paper provides an insight into the use of SNA as a tool for practitioners and deals with a number of conclusions for the professions involved in the construction industry.These conclusions have important implications for the development of the roles of the professions,for education and for the providers of insurance services.

This paper is available as a PDF download free of charge. Printed copies are available from the RICS Foundation at a cost of £5 including postage and packaging. To order a copy, please contact Stephen Brown on:

Email: sbrown@rics.org
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 3725



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