The nature of embedded purchasing activities in SMEs: results from a Dutch multiple case study

Geoffrey Hagelaar, Anne Staal, Richard Holman, Gert Walhof

Research output: Working paperProfessional


Aims: identify and explain purchasing-oriented patterns in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) via case study research.
Scope: Using a conceptual framework and empirical research this article proposes a series of purchasing-oriented patterns in SMEs. These patterns align activities to achieve the SMEs proposed value proposition towards customers and activities to purchase resources needed for realizing the value proposition.
Structure: This paper introduces the research topic. It discusses a conceptual framework and theory. It then continues with the methodology to collect and analyse case study data and describes empirical finding. It discusses these findings related to the framework and literature and ends with summarizing first conclusions.
Conclusion: The SMEs in the dataset use four types of purchasing-oriented patterns related to their customer value propositions These SMEs can strive for low transaction costs can but invest in extrinsic product attributes to realize their value proposition. Both the transaction cost theory and the resource based view help to explain the purchasing-oriented patterns. Further research is needed to strengthen and validate findings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • strategic purchasing management
  • smes
  • case studies
  • value chain

Cite this