A detailed analysis of the relationship between contract administration problems and contract types

Publication Date01 Mar 2011
Pages108-226
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JOPP-11-01-2011-B005
AuthorBill Davison,Richard J. Sebastian
SubjectPublic policy & environmental management,Politics,Public adminstration & management,Government,Economics,Public Finance/economics,Texation/public revenue
JOURNAL OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT, VOLUME 11, ISSUE 1, 108-126 SPRING 2011
A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONTRACT
ADMINISTRATION PROBLEMS AND CONTRACT TYPES
Bill Davison and Richard J. Sebastian*
ABSTRACT. Guided by a conceptual model developed by Davison and Wright
(2004), Davison and Sebastian (2009) surveyed National Institute of
Government Purchasing (NIGP) and Institute of Supply Management (ISM)
members to determine empirically which types of contract administration
problems (e.g., delays) were perceived as most likely for seven types of
contracts (e.g., small supplies and purchases). The mean ratings of the
perceived occurrence of the ten problems for each contract problem were
reported. The types of contract that had the greatest overall perceived
occurrence of problems across all problem types and the types of problem
that were perceived to be the most common across all contract types were
also reported. This research extends these analyses by examining
specifically which types of contract administration problems were perceived
to be most common for each of the seven contract types and by examining
which contract types were perceived to be most affected by the ten contract
administration problems. The implications of the research results for
procurement professionals and the limitations of the research are
discussed.
INTRODUCTION
In their earlier paper Davison and Sebastian (2009) reported rank
orders of the mean ratings of the perceived frequency of contract
administration problems for each type of contract. For example, for
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* Bill Davison, CPPO, is Director of Purchasing, Stearns County, Minnesota.
His research interest is in contract administration. Richard J. Sebastian,
Ph.D., Professor, Department of Management, St. Cloud State University. His
research interests are in workplace aggression and abusive supervision,
civility, organizational and brand loyalty, determinants of status, and
contract administration
Copyright © 2009 by PrAcademics Pres
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION PROBLEMS AND CONTRACT TYPE 109
construction contracts, “change order” had the highest mean rating
of perceived occurrence and “other sources” the lowest mean rating.
Statistical analyses of the ratings were not reported. The current
research extends these results by examining specifically and
statistically which types of problems were perceived to be most and
least common for each type of contract and what contract types were
perceived to be most and least affected by each of the contract
problems. This research, in other words, presents a much more
detailed analysis of the survey results.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Due to changes in technology, socioeconomic objectives, and
legislation, the role of the procurement professional is itself changing
from a clerical function and reactive order placer to a proactive
strategic participant who is involved in major expenditure decisions
(McCue & Gianakis, 2001; McCue & Pitzer, 2000). According to
Hinson and McCue (2004) procurement professionals must change
their focus from expending effort on the procurement of low value
repetitive purchases to the planning and procurement of high value,
high risk goods and services. Snyder (2006), furthermore, contended
that as long as the efforts of procurement professionals are focused
on the means (how something is purchased) instead of the ends
(successful project completion), they will remain reactive, and all their
decisions will be the result of decisions made by others. This, in turn,
will make it difficult for the procurement professional to achieve the
goal of becoming a strategic partner in the organization. Snyder
further argued that procurement professionals must bridge the gap
between balancing the need for successful project completion (ends)
with the need for a transparent and effective process (means).
Procurement professionals need to become more involved in
each of the six phases of the contract management process;
procurement planning, solicitation planning, solicitation, source
selection, contract administration, and contract closeout in order to
achieve the goal of becoming strategic participants in their
organization. As public organizations, like many of their private
counterparts, get “flattened” and are required “to do more with less,”
procurement professionals will also need to be increasingly efficient
and will need to allocate their scarce human and financial resources
to the projects that are of highest value (Ancona, Kochan, Scully,

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