Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This research addressed a critical issue that has faced managers of business organizations: the efficient and effective utilization of diverse resources to achieve a common objective. The chosen environment for this research was the involvement of purchasing in the acquisition of equipment within a research and development function. The research involved new scale development, administration of questionnaires and field interviews with scientists, purchasers and managers in twenty seven research centres in Canada and the United States. Case vignettes are presented to enrich the understanding of the acquisition process.;Examples of both low and high purchasing involvement were found. In low involvement situations, the time spent by the scientist on the acquisition task was predictable. The scientists expressed little confidence in purchasing's ability to contribute beyond a narrow role definition of the buying task. Scientists felt strongly about control over the equipment decisions. The relationship between the scientist and the purchaser can be considered as one of task specialization with contradictory objectives.;In those cases where purchasing was playing a significant role in the equipment acquisition process, both direct financial and perceptual benefits were recorded. The scientists expressed confidence in purchasing's ability to contribute during all stages in the acquisition process. A good predictor of high involvement was the purchaser's technical ability. The relationship between purchasing and the scientist was one of mutual respect and shared values. In all high involvement cases, purchasing regarded the scientist as a valued customer.;The research is believed to have merit to practicing managers and suggests future research opportunities. High involvement by purchasing may be a small but important contributor to the creation of a conducive research climate. The perceptual benefits from meaningful involvement (client satisfaction) may be more significant in the long term than the direct and measurable ones.;This research also adds support to the importance of cooperation and team work for business success. High levels of purchasing involvement may be indicative of the general management philosophy within the firm and a predictor of competitive success.



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