New publication in Journal of Purchasing and Supply Chain Management

Together with Dr. Peter Kruyen (Radboud University Nijmegen) I have published an article titled “Assessing the implementation of sustainable public procurement using quantitative text-analysis tools: A large-scale analysis of Belgian public procurement notices” in the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Chain Management.

Public organizations are using sustainable public procurement (SPP) as a policy tool to address societal and environmental issues. Having a policy on SPP however does not guarantee implementation. Several barriers have for example been identified that prevent public procurers from implementing SPP in their procurement projects, such as financial constraints, lack of knowledge or motivation. The question therefore arises how much SPP public organizations actually implement in their procurement projects. However, existing studies often focus on the environmental part of SPP and often rely on using interviews or surveys to assess the perceived degree of SPP (which have been accused of being subject to social desirability bias and low response rates). Little is therefore known about what SPP is in practice, and how frequently it is implemented. In this study, we therefore provide a detailed operationalization of SPP that encompasses the full concept. We subsequently assess the implementation of SPP in practice using text mining techniques to analyse over 140.000 Belgian public procurement notices that were published between 2011 and 2016. The research shows that in more than 70% of the notices (with an annex) SPP is implemented, but there appears to be a downward trend. It seems that SPP is implemented less over time, rather than more. Environmentally friendly procurement was, relative to other types of SPP, prevalent over time and across regions. For SPP to live up to its potential there are thus still barriers to be overcome.

You can read the full article here: article.




SMART Workshop in Oslo

Last week I participated in the SMART Workshop hosted by Marta Andhov (University of Copenhagen) and Roberto Caranta (University of Turin) and attended by Willem Janssen (University of Utrecht), Adam Gromnica (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic), Tim Stoffel (German Development Institute), Lela Mélon (University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), Roxana Vornicu (SIRBU Law), Jason Czarnezki (Pace University) and Olga Martin-Ortega (University of Greenwich).

Together we worked on proposals for the way forward in sustainable public procurement. With an international and multidisciplinary team of scholars and practitioners we worked in a collaborative style to draft recommendations to help sustainable public procurement reach its full potential. The report will be published soon.



Doe mee met ons onderzoek!

Duurzaamheid is tegenwoordig een belangrijk thema bij veel organisaties. Vanuit de Erasmus Universiteit & Universiteit Gent onderzoeken wij daarom in hoeverre duurzaamheid een rol speelt bij het inkopen van goederen, diensten of werken.

Ben jij inkoper? Doe dan hier mee met ons onderzoek: enquête

Deelnemen kost niet veel tijd en de antwoorden zijn volledig anoniem. De resultaten van het onderzoek zullen worden gebruikt voor publicaties over duurzaam inkopen, die na afloop van het onderzoek hier gedeeld zullen worden.

Alvast hartelijk bedankt,

Dr. Jolien Grandia & Dr. Bert George


New article on Sustainable Public Procurement

Together with Dylan Voncken I have written an article titled “Sustainable Public Procurement: The Impact of Ability, Motivation, and Opportunity on the Implementation of Different Types of Sustainable Public Procurement”. 

Public organisations develop sustainable public procurement (SPP) policies to compel suppliers to contribute to societal goals. Studies show that the ability, motivation, and opportunity that procurers have to procure in a sustainable manner affect the uptake of SPP. Most studies into SPP examine these factors only in the context of one type of SPP (e.g., green procurement). The goal of this paper is therefore to examine the relationship between ability, motivation, and opportunity and six types of SPP: (1) green public procurement, (2) social return on investment, (3) circular economy, (4) bio-based public procurement, (5) innovation-oriented public procurement and (6) international social criteria. An online survey was administered amongst procurers working in Dutch public organisations. The research shows that ability, motivation, and opportunity affect Green Public Procurement (GPP). Opportunity did affect green public procurement, innovation-oriented public procurement and circular economy, but not the other types of SPP. We were unable to identify an antecedent of more social types of SPP in this research. This research shows that findings based on GPP cannot be directly generalized to other types of SPP, and that there is a need for research into the antecedents of social types of SPP.

The article is published in open access journal Sustainability and can be read for free here: article. 


New international research

Environmentally friendly procurement and sustainability are important topics in many organizations and is one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Organisations can challenge and stimulate suppliers to help them reach their sustainability goals via their procurement projects.

From the Erasmus University Rotterdam (Jolien Grandia) and Ghent University (Bert George) we have therefore initiated a new research into environmentally friendly procurement. In cooperation with the NEVI and VIB we will be surveying procurement professionals from different countries about environmentally friendly procurement. With this research we hope to gain insight into the considerations that play a role in procuring in a more or less environmentally friendly way and understand the role sustainability plays in the work of procurement professionals. The aggregated and anonymous answers will be used for several publications that will be listed on the publications page once they have been written, accepted and published.


Article on motivational strategies now online

Together with Peter Kruyen (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Yvonne La Grouw (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) I have written a paper titled “Motivating the unemployed: A full‐range model of motivational strategies that caseworkers use to activate clients“.

Governments use activation policies to stimulate unemployed citizens in finding work. Caseworkers are, as front‐line workers, responsible for concrete activation trajectories based on these activation policies. Little is known about how caseworkers try to get clients to participate in these activation trajectories. In a qualitative, inductive study (consisting of observations and reflective interviews) in two welfare agencies, we identified 10 motivational strategies that caseworkers employed. The full‐range leadership model appeared to be an appropriate perspective to understand, systematize, and reflect on these strategies, in particular as our analyses show that these motivational strategies can be placed on a continuum ranging from laissez‐faire to transactional and transformational strategies. We found that caseworkers matched their motivational strategy to the situation and client but preferred transformational strategies. Our findings implicate chances but also challenges for activation in practice and literature on front‐line workers.

The article has been published open-access, so everybody can read our article for free here:  article.


ICPP in Montréal

In June I attended the fourth International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP) in Montréal, Canada and presented a paper about the impact of ability, motivation and opportunity on different types of sustainable public procurement.

Factors related to the ability, motivation and opportunity to procure in a sustainable manner have been identified as barriers or drivers to the implementation of SPP. Existing studies on sustainable public procurement often only focus on green public procurement, thereby overlooking the other types of SPP. Little is therefore known about the impact of these factors on the various types of SPP. A survey has been administered amongst procurers working in public spending authorities (e.g. municipalities, ministries, universities, provinces, and water boards).

The results indicate the antecedents vary per type of SPP and thus that findings about the antecedent of green public procurement cannot be generalised to other types of SPP.


IPSERA in Milan

In April I attended the 28th International IPSERA conference in Milan, Italy. I presented a paper written with Dr Peter Kruyen (Radboud University Nijmegen) that reported the results from a research into > 140.000 public procurement notices of Belgian contracting authorities.

The nature and extent of sustainable procurement is perceived to vary greatly, but little is actually known about the uptake of SPP and how it varies. Using text mining techniques over 140.000 procurement contract notices (published between 2011 and 2016) from Belgian public contracting authorities were explored to examine the current state of sustainable procurement, and identify patterns in the level and nature of attention for sustainability. Most notably we found that attention for sustainability increased and then decreased over time, focused on environmental sustainability, and varied between regions within Belgium. The paper was short listed for the best Public Procurement paper.


Erasmus Bachelor Open Day

If you are looking for a bachelor programme that learns you to look beyond borders and contribute to managing social challenges, such as climate change, migration, economic stability, and international crime, the Bachelor Management of International Social Challenges (MISOC) at Erasmus University Rotterdam might be the right choice for you.

On February 16th 2019 the Erasmus University Rotterdam is hosting another Bachelor Open Day where prospective students and their parents/guardians can join presentations about all of our bachelor programmes. Between sessions current students, alumni and staff are here to answer any questions you may have. And you can explore our campus or get to know the city of Rotterdam during a guided tour.

As program director of the MISOC bachelor programme I will be there to give several general introductions to the programme. However, you can also join an the in-depth lecture or ask our current students about their experiences with the MISOC programme and student life in Rotterdam.

You can register for the Bachelor Open Day here: bachelor open day. Or read more about the MISOC bachelor programme here: MISOC bachelor programme.


Plenary Speaker

The 10th EcoProcura Conference is from 3 – 5 October 2018 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The EcoProcura conference series started in 1998 as a European-wide forum to promote exchange and dialogue among purchasers from all levels of government, suppliers, policy-makers and multipliers on strategies and the latest practical solutions on sustainable, circular, and innovation procurement.

The conference will bring together over 400 procurers, policy makers, businesses, researchers and international organisations from all over Europe in Nijmegen to discuss the latest developments in sustainable and innovation procurement, such as:

  • Current best practice in implementation
  • European policy developments and international initiatives
  • Opportunities for collaboration between procurers in Europe
  • Practical tools for implementation (circular procurement, life cycle costing, monitoring, e-Procurement)
  • Market dialogue, joint procurement, social issues, professionalisation of procurement

At the EcoProcura conference I will be giving a plenary speech on organisational culture and behavioral change in the implementation of sustainable public procurement. Making procurement more sustainable can be challenging, but actors such as procurers can make a real difference. In this speech I will discuss the role of actors, such as procurers in making procurement more sustainable, as well as the mechanisms that affect them.

You can read more about the conference programme here and register for the conference here.