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Buying Business Services

  • ID: 2244211
  • Book
  • March 2002
  • 302 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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′This book is about a topic of growing importance; companies purchase services to an extent and in a variety as never before. The authors deal with the area in a very comprehensive way, adopting a value–based approach without losing sight of prevailing social behaviour inside and between companies. They help us understand the art of purchasing business services in a variety of contexts, among others by providing a rich selection of illustrations. The book is a must–read for people both in industrial firms and public institutions.′

James C. Anderson, William L. Ford Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Wholesale Distribution, and Professor of Behavioral Science in Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

′The more important services and a service approach become in business, the more essential it is for managers and researchers to understand the characteristics of services from a purchasing point of view as well. In this book the authors offer a unique approach to the purchasing of services, based on the well–established A–R–A (actor, resources, activities) model of buyer–seller relationships. The book is indeed an important and novel contribution to the purchasing literature as well as to the service management literature.′
Christian Grönroos, Professor of Service and Relationship Marketing Hanken/Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

′The knowledge society is fragmented and consists of a large number of different knowledge elements. Successful developments often take place by finding new ways to combine earlier unrelated elements. This book is an excellent example of such a combination. The authors bring together the specific elements of services with the configurations of networks in a text that can be useful both for managers as well as students. The book describes, analyses and gives advice on the procurement of different types of services by utilizing concepts developed in earlier studies of networks and services. The applicability of the concepts is in this way tested but they are also enriched. If you are interested in any of the three areas of purchasing, services and networks you have to read it.
Håkan Håkansson, Professor of International Management Norwegian School of Management BI

′In writing this book both authors have drawn on their considerable academic knowledge and practitioner networks. This makes this book a unique blend of pragmatic theory and structured application. The reader will benefit from the many case examples that are included in the text. The book generates a host of ideas on how to improve business and purchasing practices – a must read!′
Arjan van Weele, NEVI Professor of Purchasing and Supply Management Eindhoven University of Technology Nyenrode University

Buying Business Services has been written for students taking courses in purchasing and services marketing on MBA or masters level courses. It will also be of great interest to the thinking professional working in services procurement and purchasing.

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About the Authors


1 The Increased Importance of Buying Services

The service society

Services defined

Development of the purchasing function

Buying business services

Summary and book overview

2 Business Services, their Providers and Customers

Types of business services

Types of business service providers

Types of business service customers

Different forms of business services



3 Business services in terms of activities, resources and actors

Services described as activities and functions

The A–R–A model

Allocation of activities between actors

Conditions for allocation of activities: production technology

Analysing and changing activity structures

Buying business services as resourcing

Activities, resources, actors and the concept of Supply Chain Management


4 Outsourcing and insourcing of functions and activities

Some illustrations of outsourcing and arguments for favour and against

Strategic aspects

Performance aspects

Organizational aspects

Deliberate versus emergent outsourcing

Summary checklist


5 Buyer–Supplier Interaction in Business Services Exchange Processes

Exchange processes between buyer and seller

Describing and understanding business interactions

The nature of exchange processes in relation to the type of business service

The complexity of the service and the type of problem solution

The type of service application

Basic services versus problem–solving services – a comment


6 The Impact of E–commerce

E– commerce – a definition

Some key benefits of ICT

Enabling techniques

The potential of e–commerce

Basic forms of e–procurement

E–commerce and the interaction patterns between actors

E–commerce and the impact of patterns of division of labour along supply chains

E–commerce and its′ likely impact on different kinds of services

Barriers to exploiting e–technology



7 Specifying Business Services

Purchasing as a rational decision process

Service Level Agreements: a way of specifying business services

Methods for specifying business services

Business service quality

Quality deviations: when routines no longer work

Service quality assurance


8 Selecting and Evaluating Business Service Providers

The Importance of Supplier Selection and Evaluation

A model for data capture

Evaluation models

Prerequisites for a relationship: a matter of fit

Specific aspects to consider when the supplier is a service provider


9 Contracting Business Service Providers: Pricing, Negotiations and Payments

Pricing principles

Cost–based pricing

Market–based pricing

Value–based pricing

Interrelations between the three price elements

The impact of negotiation strategies

payment Principles



10 Transaction–oriented and Related–oriented purchasing

Transaction oriented purchasing philosophy

Relationship–oriented purchasing philosophy

Efficiency in supplier relations

Purchasing philosophy and buying business services

Purchasing philosophy and the use of ICT

Variations on the theme transaction vs. relation–oriented purchasing strategy

Combining different approaches


11 Buying business services: the market perspective versus the network perspective

Outer context: markets vs. networks

Purchasing in a market environment

Purchasing in a network environment

Two main categories of networks

Characterizing network structures

Networks of activities, actors and resources

The fundamentals of network structures

Networks as force fields

Networking to influence network structures and processes

Creating and designing supply structures

Markets and networks combined


12 Summary

The contents




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Björn Axelsson
Finn Wynstra
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