University of Twente Student Theses


Gender differences in purchasing and supply management : a mixed method research into purchasing professionals' competencies and professional focus

Bijl, T. (2020) Gender differences in purchasing and supply management : a mixed method research into purchasing professionals' competencies and professional focus.

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Abstract:In the past decades, females have increasingly entered management positions in organisations, resulting in a more gender diverse workforce. However, theories suggest that these females are often disadvantaged by gender as a consequence of, for instance, the gender stereotypes in society. As a result, they are underrepresented in senior working positions in organisations. In the purchasing and supply management (PSM) profession, females are underrepresented too, as they account for only 12 per cent of the Chief Purchasing Officer (CPO) functions in Europe. The advantages and its contradictory underrepresentation of females in purchasing roles raises questions regarding gender differences. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the differences between males and females in the purchasing profession regarding their competencies and professional focus. Afterwards, in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of these gender differences, experiences of purchasing professionals were explored. The following two central research questions were formulated: CRQ1: “How do males and females differ in the purchasing and supply management profession with regard to their competencies and professional focus?” and CRQ2: “How are these gender differences experienced among purchasing professionals?”. Results regarding the first central research question (CRQ1) were obtained through analysing an existing survey, by applying the one-way ANOVA procedure for analysis of variance in SPSS. The second central research question (CRQ2) was answered by conducting ten semi-structured interviews with Dutch purchasing professionals. The quantitative analysis revealed that most statistically significant gender differences were found for respondents at the age between 40 and 49 years old. Noteworthy is that the first age group, consisting of respondents between 20 and 29 years old, demonstrated mostly positive mean differences, whereas the other age groups showed negative mean differences. These positive mean differences imply that females at the age between 20 and 29 years old assessed themselves higher on the purchasing competencies than males. On the contrary, females at the age between 30 and 59 years old assessed themselves lower than males of that particular age. The qualitative results indicate that it might be differences between individuals having different personal interests, characters, types of employment and years of experience, instead of differences between males and females. Accordingly, recommendations for future research are given as well as discussing the limitations of this study.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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