1. Research Topic:
Analysing the Potential Benefits and Challenges of Adopting E-Procurement in the Construction Industry of UK
2. Problem Statement:
Procurement is an important function the supply chain management process of the construction industry. With the unprecedented growth in the field of information technology, construction companies started adopting experimental ways to reduce the burden of construction waste and inventory surplus. The most suitable way to achieve the above mentioned target for them is undeniably e-Procurement. However, the construction companies of UK are facing major obstacles in adopting e-Procurement in their supply chain process in the form of lack of knowledge about e-Procurement amongst the construction workers. The present study will try to highlight the potential benefits and challenges of adopting e-Procurement in the construction business.
3. Research Questions:
The primary research questions are:
What is the importance of e-Procurement in the supply chain process of construction companies?
How do construction companies get benefitted from the implementation of e-Procurement?
What are the major obstacles faced by UK construction companies in the adoption of in e-Procurement?
How can the UK construction companies overcome the obstacles in the e-Procurement implementation process?
4. Research Methodology:
4.1 Research Philosophy:
Research philosophy highlights the psychological standpoint of a researcher. Here in this research, the researcher will take into considerations three major research philosophies – positivism, realism and interpretivism. Positivism philosophy deals with facts that can also be termed as sensory experiences (Crowther and Lancaster, 2012). The philosophy allows a researcher to interpret facts by using different rational or mathematical tools. Positivism prefers to consider research data as empirical evidences and finds its own root in empiricism (Harrison and Reilly, 2011). On the other hand, realism has its faith on the existence of a visible world irrespective of what others have to say about it. Realism stands in direct contrast against solipsism and it believes in the independent self of the research population. Interpretivism eyes at interpreting the social activities of people and strongly rejects empiricism.
For the present study, the researcher will select positivism philosophy as empirical evidences will be collected during the process of the research. At the same time, the researcher will show full support in favour of the validity of previous theories and models related to the research topic.
4.2 Research Approach:
Research approach indicates the procedure by following which a research work is usually conducted. There are two kinds of research approach available – inductive and deductive. Inductive approach, alternatively called as “bottom-up” procedure, allows a researcher to start the research work from an observation (Cooper and Schindler, 2010). Inductive approach is ideal for an exploratory study where a researcher at the end of the research forms grounded theories. On the contrary, deductive approach follows a “top-down” process in which a researcher utilises the foundation of previous theories and researches (Ellis and Levy, 2009). By following the deductive approach, a researcher can validate the theoretical backbone of the research topic with the help of the empirical evidences.
Here in this research, the researcher has the support of previous theories and models of supply chain management and e-Procurement. At the same time, the primary purpose of the research lies in the establishment of different variables of the research topic with the help of empirical evidences. Thus, the researcher will select deductive approach.
4.3 Research Design
Research design shows a detailed process of conducting a research work. There are three kinds of research design available – explanatory, exploratory and descriptive. In an explanatory research, a research tries to establish a cause-effect relationship between the different variables of the research topic (Magilvy and Thomas, 2009). On the other hand, the role of a researcher in an exploratory research is that of an explorer. Exploratory study is best to adopt in case of research areas in which there are a dearth of factual information available (Bryman and Bell, 2011). However, descriptive design allows a researcher to render detailed depiction of research phenomena.
In the present study, the researcher will definitely select descriptive design as it will help the researcher to offer a detailed description of the potential benefits and obstacles in the e-Procurement adoption process of the UK construction companies. Again, the researcher has a limited time to complete the research work. Descriptive design is ideal to use in a cross-sectional research.
5. Data Collection and Data Analysis Method:
The researcher in this study will collect both primary and secondary data. For the collection of primary data, the researcher will take interviews tentatively of 5 mid-level procurement managers of five different UK construction companies. The researcher will finalise the sample size by using non-probability sampling technique. As the researcher has to complete the research work within a limited time frame, convenience sampling will be ideal for the researcher to adopt. For conducting the interview of the procurement managers, the researcher will design an open ended descriptive type questionnaire against which the respondents will share their on workplace experiences.
The collected research data will be qualitative in nature and the researcher will analyse the research data by employing thematic analysis technique. Here the researcher will be able to link the secondary research data with the primary ones in establishing facts of the research. Thematic analysis of the collected research data will help the research work to fulfil the primary objectives of the research.
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