Supervisor: Dr Soroosh Saghiri 

This PhD project will be carried out and supervised in "The Centre for Strategic Procurement and Supply Management" (CSPSM) .

Supplier selection, evaluation and development have become more crucial tasks of procurement and supply managers. As organisations increasingly expand their markets and supply chains globally, new suppliers are needed to be selected and/or developed based on new performance criteria. A recent study by The Centre for Strategic Procurement and Supply Management at Cranfield School of Management indicates that future procurement needs new supply bases formed by a new generation of suppliers. Besides, more critical business areas such as product development, process design, logistics, and customer relationship management, are outsourced these days, while they are seeking to leverage a greater level of value and competitive advantage for the whole supply chain.

Supplier selection and evaluation studies have been largely dominated by mathematical models which try to rate and rank suppliers based on a number of pre-defined factors such as cost, quality, service, and delivery (De Boer et al., 2001; Ho et al. 2010). However, in an era of new trends in products and services outsourcing, there is an increasing need to employ theories from other relevant disciplines such as economics, strategy, and organisational behaviour to supply management and supplier selection/evaluation/development research (Ellram et al., 2008; McIvor, 2009).

Although cost, quality and delivery are still the main supplier selection/evaluation criteria and the centre of supplier development programmes (Cheraghi et al., 2011; Krause & Scannell, 2002), the implications for the long-term capabilities of the whole supply chain have to be considered. Among influential theories in management studies are resource-based view (RBV) and transaction cost economics (TCE). Both have made valuable contributions to understanding business phenomena for years and have been considered in operations and supply chain studies more recently (Hunt & Davis, 2012; Rungtusanatham et al., 2003). RBV, views the firm as a set of valuable and rare resources and assets that can enable the firm to achieve competitive advantage, and long-term superior performance (Barney, 1991). TCE identifies and explains the conditions suitable for a firm to manage an economic exchange internally, and the conditions under which it should manage an economic exchange externally (Williamson, 2005).

RBV and TCE are important to the study of supplier selection/evaluation/development, as superior performance achieved in supply chain activities relative to competitors, would explain how these activities can be supported by suppliers and how supplier selection/evaluation/development can contribute to the supply chain core competences.

Within this context, interested PhD applicants are invited to submit their research proposals which focus on supplier selection, supplier evaluation and supplier development fields of research, where their role in and contribution to supply management practices and performance are explained by theories such as RBV and TCE theories. It is expected that the research proposal will reflect the applicant's clear understanding of the relevant literature, research methodology, data collection and data analysis methods. The proposals are recommended to define their research questions around the following subjects:

  • Explanation of the new trends in supplier selection and supplier evaluation using RBV and TCE theories.
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the existing RBV and TCE theories in support of supplier selection/evaluation/development decisions and practices.
  • The role of RBV in informing supplier development decisions in global procurement and supply management.
  • The role of TCE in supplier evaluation and development practices in emerging economies and markets.

Proposals should be formulated in consultation with Dr Saroosh Saghiri (


Barney, J. (1991). Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management. Vol.17, No.1. pp. 99-120.

Cheraghi, S. H., Dadashzadeh, M., Subramanian, M. (2011). Critical Success Factors for Supplier Selection: an Update. Journal of Applied Business Research (JABR). Vol.20, No.2.

De Boer, L., Labro, E., Morlacchi, P. (2001). A Review of Methods Supporting Supplier Selection. European Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management. Vol.7, No.2. pp.75-89.

Ellram, L. M., Tate, W. L., Billington, C. (2008). Offshore Outsourcing of Professional Services: A Transaction Cost Economics Perspective. Journal of Operations Management. Vol.26, No.2. pp. 148-163.

Ho, W., Xu, X., Dey, P.K. (2010). Multi-Criteria Decision Making Approaches for Supplier Evaluation and Selection: A Literature Review. European Journal of Operational Research. Vol.202, No.1. pp. 16-24.

Hunt, S. D., Davies, D.F. (2012). Grounding Supply Chain Management in Resource-Advantage Theory: In Defense of a Resource-Based View of the Firm. Journal of Supply Chain Management. Vol.48, No.2. pp. 14-20.

Krause, D. R., Scannell, T. V. (2002). Supplier Development Practices: Product-and Service-Based Industry Comparisons. Journal of Supply Chain Management. Vol.38, No.2. pp. 13-21.

McIvor, R. (2009). How the Transaction Cost and Resource-Based Theories of the Firm Inform Outsourcing Evaluation. Journal of Operations Management. Vol.27, No.1. pp. 45-63.

Rungtusanatham, M., Salvador, F., Forza, C., Choi, T. Y. (2003). Supply-Chain Linkages and Operational Performance: a Resource-Based-View Perspective. International Journal of Operations and Production Management. Vol.23, No.9. pp.1084-1099.

Williamson, O. E. (2005). Transaction Cost Economics. Springer US.