International purchasing offices: Literature review and research directions
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International Purchasing Offices (IPOs) now play an increasingly important role in the management of international sourcing activities, both in developed and emerging economies. The relevance of this organisational solution and the relatively limited research that has been published so far in the P&SCM literature make the "IPO" topic particularly promising for future research. This paper - based on an analysis of 59 works published between 1991 and 2011 - provides the first comprehensive literature review and research agenda on this topic. The primary issues (i.e., IPO definition, activities, location choices, strengths, weaknesses, and human resources management) are identified, and a conceptual framework is proposed. Building on this analysis, some theoretical and methodological weaknesses of the existing works and some gaps in the literature are discussed. This work concludes by suggesting several future research directions.