Enhancing Entrepreneurship: The Greek National Electronic Public Procurement System – Internal Customer Opinions

Enhancing Entrepreneurship: The Greek National Electronic Public Procurement System – Internal Customer Opinions

Nikolaos G. Bitzidis (International Hellenic University, Greece), Sotirios G. Dimitriadis (International Hellenic University, Greece), George I. Karavasilis (International Hellenic University, Greece), Evangelos C. Kehris (International Hellenic University, Greece) and Vasiliki G. Vrana (International Hellenic University, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3648-3.ch006

Abstract

One of the major roles of governments is to create a favorable business environment for fostering entrepreneurial activities, including good infrastructure and a culture that encourages the adoption of technologies. In such a policy context, the Greek National Electronic Public Procurement System (ESIDIS) was developed. The use of ESIDIS is mandatory for the employees, and its success depends on users' satisfaction. The chapter investigates the factors influencing employees' satisfaction when using the system. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use, perceived risk, and willingness to learn were investigated using empirical research. Structural equation modeling was used for the analysis of the data. Perceived usefulness has the most significant role in determining user satisfaction while risks importance is diminished when users understand the usefulness of the system for their job performance. Managers and policymakers should take these factors into consideration in order to improve users' satisfaction and consequently maximize the added value of the system for the entrepreneurs.
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Introduction

Public procurement is an internal part of G2B processes (Panayiotou, Gayialis, & Tatsiopoulos, 2004) and can be defined as the “acquisition (through buying or purchasing) of goods and services by government or public organizations” (Hommen & Rolfstam, 2009). The public procurement process requires the contracting authorities -all levels of government and public agencies – to call public tenders, usually when the value of the procurement exceeds a certain threshold and wait for suppliers’ responses. After receiving the suppliers’ responses, a negotiation process between the contracting authorities and the interested suppliers for the acquisition of goods or services (Kastanioti et al., 2012; Klabi, Mellouli & Rekik, 2014). Governments adopt different regulations for procurement processes and each year spend billions in procurement (Klabi, Mellouli & Rekik, 2014). Governments, on one side aim at minimizing cost through maximum competition, protecting public fund reducing and eliminating corruption and increasing transparency, while suppliers, on the other side, aim at winning the contract and maximizing their profits (Concha, Porrúa, & Pimenta, 2010). Thus, governments are associated with entrepreneurial activity, providing invaluable help to entrepreneurs (Kavoura & Andersson, 2016; Makarona & Kavoura, 2019).

Drucker (1993, p.35) defined entrepreneurship as “...change that always provides the opportunity for the new and different. Systematic innovation therefore consists in the purposeful and organized search for changes, and in the systematic analysis of the opportunities such changes might offer for economic or social innovation”. Entrepreneurship is an art of recognizing a business opportunity, mobilizing resources to exploit that opportunity (Mufutau &Ajetomobi, 2016) and is commonly associated with choice-related issues (UN, 2005). Growth and expansion are key goals for entrepreneurs and public procurement may be used as a lever to drive to economic growth and prosperity.

Information technology is a critical enabler of the redefinition of organizations and plays a critical role in procurement process and in improving information flows across supply chains (Handfield, Jeong & Choi, 2018). It is considered as the most feasible and promising path to be followed by public administration in the acquisition of goods and services for the public sector. Using information technology the public sector may create efficient workflows and processes, eliminating the existing procurement inefficiencies without disrupting its primary business activities (Masika, 2013). Information technology supports internal processes and involves business partners while it can offer efficient distribution of information, increased transparency and better control, smoother and faster process flow, shortening the order fulfillment cycle time, decentralization of tasks and decisions, reduction in administrative costs and lowering price paid for products (Praveen & Khaliq, 2018; Tanner, Wölfle & Quacde, 2006). Furthermore, information technology can play an important role to reduce corruption by promoting good governance (Bertot, Jaeger & Grimes, 2010), enhancing relationships between government employees and the other stakeholders in the procurement process, monitoring and controlling activities of the government employees and reducing potentiality of corrupt behaviors. (Neupane et al., 2012). Nowadays many developing and developed countries have focused on e-procurement systems as a key tool to reduce the corruption by opening competition in government procurement processes to the public (Neupane et al., 2012). Many OECD countries engage artificial intelligence and block-chain technology in public procurement process to share transaction information (OECD, 2019a). Block-chain technology in e-procurement may be use to (i) track full-cycle procurement workflows to prevent record tampering; (ii) create interoperable supplier profiles across fragmented e-procurement systems to reduce asymmetry of information in purchasing or pre-tender assessment; and (iii) “decentralize” bid evaluation to disincentivise bribery and biased decision-making” (Yang, 2019 p. 1). Therefore, use of block chain solutions offer immutability and decentralization, single source of truth for all parties in the value chain, security in transactions, more transparency and increased accuracy of supply chain due to diligence information (OECD, 2019a).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Perceived usefulness: The degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance.

Public Procurement: Acquisition (through buying or purchasing) of goods and services by government or public organizations.

Perceived risk: The potential for the realization of unwanted, negative consequences of an event.

E-procurement: A comprehensive process in which organizations use IT systems to establish agreements for the acquisition of products or services (contracting) or purchase products or services in exchange for payment (purchasing).

Willingness-to-Learn: The users’ willingness to try, persist, tinker and even study to learn how to use new technologies.

User Satisfaction: End-user’s overall affective and cognitive evaluation of the pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfillment experienced with IS.

Perceived ease of use: The degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free of physical and mental effort.

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