Clarifying strategic alignment in the public procurement process

Henrico Plantinga*, Hans Voordijk, André Dorée

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: While the need for strategic alignment in public management has been recognized, there is a lack of conceptual clarity to support its application in practice. Focusing on the specific field of public procurement, this paper clarifies and illustrates how the concept of strategic alignment can be applied when strategizing the public procurement process.

Design/methodology/approach: The current literature on strategic alignment in public procurement is critically reviewed to identify ambiguities that hamper its application in practice. Based on this review, an analytical framework is developed that conceptualizes strategic alignment as that between the procurement instruments used in a sourcing project and the corresponding higher-level strategies. The framework is empirically illustrated by applying it in a case study that reconstructs the procurement strategy for an innovation project.

Findings: Strategic alignment in the public procurement process can be demonstrated by identifying, explicating and logically linking reasoning and trade-off decisions on competing priorities across multiple levels and dimensions of strategy.

Originality/value: Although creating alignment between policy and public procurement practice is generally held to be important in the public management literature, it is only discussed on high levels of abstraction. This paper provides clarity by investigating alignment in greater detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-807
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2020


  • Bid design
  • Procurement strategy
  • Strategic alignment
  • Strategy formation


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