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Strategic Sourcing: An Empirical Investigation of the Concept and Its Practices in U.S. Manufacturing Firms


  • Canan Kocabasoglu,

    1. assistant professor in the Department of Decision Sciences in the School of Business, University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas
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  • Nallan C. Suresh

    1. professor and Chair in the Department of Operations Management and Strategy in the School of Management, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
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  • The authors thank the Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) for providing access to membership directory, letters of support, encouragement and financial support for this study. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the help of Mr. John Domres and the Buffalo Chapter of ISM for their active support and encouragement of this study.


The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding of strategic sourcing and to discuss the challenges in adopting strategic sourcing. First, a literature review is undertaken to identify the key, characterizing elements of strategic sourcing. This is followed by an analysis of the relationships between different elements of strategic sourcing using data from 140 U.S. manufacturing companies. Results indicate that strategic sourcing is based on the status of the purchasing function within the firm, the level of internal coordination of purchasing with other functions within the firm, information sharing with key suppliers and development of key suppliers.