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Professional Competences of Specialists in Purchasing as a Factor of Purchasing Activity Quality

Irina Petrovna Gladilina*

Moscow State Management University, 28 Sretenka Street, 107045 Moscow, Russian Federation

Tatiana Alexandrovna Polovova

Moscow State Management University, 28 Sretenka Street, 107045 Moscow, Russian Federation

Svetlana Alexandrovna Sergeeva

Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, 36, Stremyanny LA, 117997, Moscow, Russian Federation

Julia Olegovna Antipova

Moscow State Management University, 28 Sretenka Street, 107045 Moscow, Russian Federation

Dmitrij Olegovich Umanetc

Moscow State Management University, 28 Sretenka Street, 107045

*Corresponding Author:
Irina Petrovna Gladilina
Moscow State Management University
28 Sretenka Street, 107045 Moscow
Russian Federation
Tel:
+7(495)8591724
Email:
gladilina815058@mail.ru

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Abstract

One of the top priority directions of the social and economic development of every country is the area of purchasing. The quality of purchasing depends on many factors. Herewith, one of the key factors is the level of the customers’ professionalism. The customers’ professionalism as one of the basic principles of the contractual system requires the development of the complex of professional competences that allow not only to estimate the level of professionalism of any specialist who makes purchases but also to substantiate criteria and indicators of professional competences formedness. Foreign and Russian experience of the customers’ professionalism development allows to single out and substantiate the suggestion that the focus, when training specialists in the area of purchasing, has moved from the simple educational process to the planned purposeful formation of high professional competences of graduates of programs as a whole and every academic discipline in particular. The formation of professional competences is a complicated process based on the integration of the complex of factors that allow the specialist to acquire new professional qualities. The authors prove the necessity to make changes in the notion “the customers’ professionalism” and consider it as a multiple professional and personal feature that contains motivational, cognitive, personal, activity, and reflexive components.

Keywords

Professionalism; Competences; Purchasing; Quality; Development

Introduction

Professional competences of specialists in purchasing are the basis of high quality, efficient purchasing activity. The formation of professional competences is a comprehensive process based on the integration of a complex of factors that allow the specialist to acquire new professional qualities. It is possible to form the customers’ professional competences only subject to methodological provision of purchasing activity.

The goal of the methodological provision of purchasing activity is a scientifically grounded aggregate of actions aiming at estimating the efficiency of purchases to prevent possible risks and more efficient purchasing [1,2].

In addition to special knowledge, modern purchases require from the customer definite methodological preparation for using various methods of activity. Based on understanding methodological competence as a system of knowledge about principles, methods, forms, procedures of cognition and urgent transformation of purchasing, we consider methodological provision of purchases as purposeful activity [3]. In his research works Platonov gives the following classification of the activity according to its goals:

- Methodology of play activity,

- Methodology of learning activity, and

- Methodology of professional activity [4].

Novikov notes that to organize activity means to arrange it in a sort of the unified system that is peculiar of definite characteristics [5]. Purchases management is a multifactorial process. The purposefulness of management as a leading condition of high quality purchasing requires the formation of a complex of professional competences with specialists who make purchases. It is necessary to take into account that we define the professional competences of a specific labor activity rather than those of the labor during purchasing, but we define specific labor activity aiming at solving tasks related to achieving high quality, efficient and high-performance purchases. The system of internal impacts not only on the professional activity but also on the personality as a whole acquires special importance [6]. Internal psychological processes and underlying processes of psycho are the most important components of the customers’ professionalism [7].

Methodology

The methodology of forming professional competences of specialists in the area of purchasing includes the following principles:

- Interdependence of the substantial and procedural components of every professional competence,

- Top-priority role of the society need in specific professional competences of customers.

The principles and factors mentioned above demand serious requirements to the content and formation of professional competences. To a large extent difficulties related to defining the content of professional competences lie in the fact that there is still disagreement in interpreting the term “competence” itself [8]. The notions “competence” and “competency” have their shades of meaning. The thesaurus of the Russian language of D.N. Ushakov defines the competence as a range of issues and phenomena in relation to whose the person has authoritativeness, knowledge, experience, and “competent” means “knowledgeable, being an acknowledged expert in an issue.”

The dictionary of foreign words defines the notion “competent” as the one that has a range of rights and powers of an establishment, person, or a range of business matters, issues that are subject to someone’s conduct. The French word “competent” is translated as competent, powerful. It also has a legal shade. In the English term “competence” the meaning of the person’s quality dominates: competence is interpreted as ability [9,10].

The notion competence is more often used to denote

• Educational result expressed in the preparedness, “availability of abilities” of the individual, real command of methods, means of activity, possibility to cope with the set tasks,

• Definite form of the combination of knowledge, techniques and skills that allow to set and achieve goals on transforming the environment.

What is more, these notions include the personality’s orientation (motivation, system of values, etc.), its ability to overcome stereotypes, feel problems, display discernment, flexibility of thinking, character, namely independence, purposefulness, and volitional powers [11].

The notions of competence and competency are system, and multicomponent. They characterize a definite range of subjects and processes, and are characterized on various levels, i.e. they include various intellectual operations (analytical, critical, and communicative) as well as working knowledge, common sense and have their own classification, hierarchy. Obviously, it is possible to imagine the general competence of the person as a complex that includes components related to knowledge (cognitive), activity (behavioral), and attitude (affective) [12] .

J. Raven developed a model of the general competence representing a matrix consisting of 143 elements. However, such volume makes it difficult - almost impossible - to use it [13]. However, if one uses the deductive method (from less to more prominent competencies), it is possible to make a hierarchy – to single out several basic, key competences that in their turn consist of more specific competences and finally separate skills and knowledge.

The key (basic, universal) competences are multifunctional, super-subject and multivariable. Mastering them allows to solve various problems in every day, professional, and social lives. The key competences are based on the person’s characteristics and manifested in definite ways of behavior that base on his/her psychological qualities, and include wide practical context with a high level of universality [14].

Selevko distinguishes the following super-competences:

• Mathematical competence – ability to work with the numeric information – mastering mathematical skills,

• Communicative competence – ability to enter the communication in order to be understood, mastering communicational skills,

• Informational competence – mastering informational technologies – ability to work with all types of information,

• Autonomation competence – ability to self-develop and self-present – ability to self-determination, self-education, and competitiveness,

• Social competence – ability to live and work with other people, relatives, workforce, and team,

• Productive competence – ability to work and earn, ability to create one’s own product, ability to take decisions and bear responsibility for them, and

• Moral competence – readiness, ability and need to live according to social ethic laws [2].

The methodology of developing the content of professional competences required for the specialist to understand operational and substantive aspects of his/her direct professional activity was described in works of many scientists. This is the practical professional activity that is the result of achieving any level of professional competence. However, the content of professional competences of specialists who make purchases is developed fragmentarily.

Results

General Approaches to Forming Customer’s Professional Competences

We will consider the formation of professional competences through the example of “Management of State and Municipal Purchases” educational program. It has been implemented since 2012 by teachers of the Department of State and Municipal Purchases Management of the Moscow State Management University headed by the Department Chairman Degtev. The federal state educational standard of the higher education defines the “Management” studies for forming the following professional competences among students:

• Ability to manage organizations, subdivisions, groups (teams) of employees, projects, and networks,

• Ability to develop a corporate strategy, programs of the organizational development and changes, and provide their implementation,

• Ability to use modern methods of corporate finance management to solve strategic tasks,

• Ability to use quantitative and qualitative methods to conduct applied researches and manage business processes, to prepare analytical materials according to the results of applying them,

• Mastering methods of economic and strategic analysis of the behavior of economic agents and markets in the global environment,

• Ability to use modern methods of corporate finances management to solve strategic tasks,

• Ability to generalize and critically estimate the results of researching actual problems of management obtained by national and foreign researchers,

• Ability to represent the results of the conducted research in the form of a scientific information paper, article or report,

• Ability to stipulate the urgency, theoretical and practical importance of the selected theme of the scientific research,

• Ability to carry out individual researches in compliance with the developed program, and

• Ability to develop educational programs and methodological provision of the management disciplines, as well as to apply modern methods and methodologies in the process of teaching them.

In order to efficiently form the professionalism of the graduate of the “Management of State and Municipal Purchases” educational program, these competencies are obviously insufficient. In order to solve this problem, a complex of special competences was developed and implemented:

• SC-1 - stipulation of purchases efficiency; providing the customer of the state with the opportunity to estimate the quality of the process of state purchases in real-time mode in order to take management decisions aiming at increasing the efficiency of the purchasing process,

• SC-2 - development of a strategy and tactics of developing a contractual system on the basis of modern management technologies: budgeting focused on the result, objectively oriented modeling of the situation in the area of state and municipal purchases, risks management in state purchasing,

• SC-3 - management of efficient implementation of goals and target indicators of state programs (subprograms) due to the increase in the quality of state purchases management,

• SC-4 - monitoring of objective expenditure of budgetary funds when making purchases,

• SC-5 - development of personal management competences: leadership, self-discipline, responsibility, etc., and

• SC-6 - defining directions of researches in the area of state purchases, development and further implementation of innovational management technologies.

General Competences of Postgraduates who Make Purchasing Researches

In the process of research competences were aligned with the meaning. In terms of succession it allowed to develop levels of professional competences of graduates of the Department of State and Municipal Purchases Management. We will consider this provision by using specific examples:

• Ability to plan and solve tasks of one’s own professional and personal development (Table 1).

Levels of competences formedness Basic qualities of the level of mastering the competence
Knowledge High (excellent) level Theory and methodology of making a model related to managing the activity of the organization on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Improved (advanced) level Principles of making a model related to managing the activity of the organization on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Threshold (basic) level Basic terms and notions of management on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Skills High (excellent) level Use of the integration approach in management on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Improved (advanced) level Use of methods related to projects management in the organization of the activity of economic systems on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Threshold (basic) level Use of statistical methods of operational management on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Mastering High (excellent) level Methods, technique and technology of management in various organizational and legal forms of economic activity on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Improved (advanced) level Modern techniques of developing and taking management decisions on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development
Threshold (basic) level Special terminology and lexicon in the area of managing economic systems, documents flow, information protection, exchange of information of decisions on the basis of planning and solving tasks of one’s own professional and personal development

Table 1: Passport of Competence on Planning and Solving Tasks of One’s Own Professional and Personal Development.

Ability to individually perform research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern research methods and informational and communicational technologies (Table 2).

Levels of competences formedness Basic qualities of the level of mastering the competence
Knowledge High (excellent) level Theory and methodology of making a model related to managing the activity of the organization on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Improved (advanced) level Principles of making a model related to managing the activity of the organization on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Threshold (basic) level Basic terms and notions of the organization management on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Skills High (excellent) level Use of the integration approach in management on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Improved (advanced) level Use of methods related to projects management in organizing the activity of economic systems on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Threshold (basic) level Use of statistical methods of operational management on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Mastering High (excellent) level Methods, technique and technology of management in various organizational and legal forms of economic activity on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Improved (advanced) level Modern techniques of developing and taking management decisions on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies
Threshold (basic) level Special terminology and lexicon in the area of managing economic systems, documents flow, information protection, exchange of information of decisions on the basis of independent research activity in the relevant professional area by using modern methods of research and informational and communicational technologies

Table 2: Passport of Competence on Individual Research Activity by Using Modern Research Methods and Informational and Communicational Technologies

Readiness to organize the work of the research team in the scientific area that corresponds to the major (Table 3).

Levels of competences formedness Basic qualities of the level of mastering the competence
Knowledge High (excellent) level Theory and methodology of making a model related to managing the activity of the organization in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Improved (advanced) level Principles of making a model related to managing the activity of the organization in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Threshold (basic) level Basic terms and notions of the organization management in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Skills High (excellent) level Use of the integration approach in management in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Improved (advanced) level Use of methods related to projects management in organizing the activity of economic systems in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Threshold (basic) level Use of statistical methods of operational management in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Mastering High (excellent) level Methods, technique and technology of management in various organizational and legal forms of economic activity in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Improved (advanced) level Modern techniques of developing and taking management decisions in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major
Threshold (basic) level Special terminology and lexicon in the area of managing economic systems, documents flow, information protection, exchange of information of decisions in case the research team works in the research area that corresponds to the major

Table 3: Passport of Competence on Organizing Work of the Research Team in Scientific Area that Corresponds to the Major

The formation of professional competences of specialists in the area of purchasing is the most important task of its development. Under modern social and economic conditions, methodological assistance of purchasing activity acquires the primary importance. It is possible only if the teacher and the student talk one language.

It is possible to achieve it under the unified methodological approaches to forming professional competences of customers.

Discussion

and the student when solving pedagogic tasks. In our case this process means the formation of professional competences. The purposeful formation of the customers’ professional competences provides management as a function of formation. In case of the formed competence the management character acquires new functions: development, improvement, etc. It is stipulated by the constantly changing situation in the area of purchasing, as well as the necessity to take standard changes into account “now and here”. The above stated allows to make the conclusion that the top-priority task of the teacher who implements educational programs in the area of purchasing lies in giving substance to educational disciplines in the form of actual materials that comply with the requirements of the law and modern social and economic terms and conditions. The teacher entirely transforms his/her professional activity. He or she constantly studies new educational technologies and includes something new in the process of education. It is necessary to pay attention to online communication. It contributes to the implementation of the customers’ individual educational paths. The combination of education and professional activity (students of master courses, post-graduates, trainees of additional professional programs of further training and professional re-training) is a great advantage and a considerable difficulty. The difficulty lies in the permanent lack of time, and online communication with the teacher allows to partially solve it. The advantage lies in the possibility of creative search for solving typical purchasing tasks within the current legislation. Such approach allows to purchase goods, works and services under the minimum management risks [16]. Thus, theoretical and methodological provision of forming professional competences of specialists in the area of purchasing is based on basic principles of the management activity [17]. Based on the ideas about principles as initial provisions of any phenomenon, theory, opinion, etc. (dictionary), we will consider the complex of basic principles of the management activity that are actual when purchasing. The work of Novikov is of great interest. It represents management principles in the system of education: hierarchy principle, unification principle, purposefulness principle, openness principle, efficiency principle, responsibility principle, nonintervention principle, principle of social and state management, development principle, fullness and forecasting principle, regulation and resourceful provision principle, feedback principle, adequacy principle, operational efficiency principle, advancing reflection principle, adaptability principle, rational centralization principle, democratic management principle, concurrence principle, and ethics principle [18]. Undoubtedly, the whole range of principles is absolutely applied in the area of purchasing. However, it is recommended to consider principles of the contractual system in the area of purchasing goods, works, and services to meet state and municipal needs as the basic principles of the management activity in the process of theoretical and methodological provision of the formation of professional competences of specialists in the area of purchasing [19,20].

Conclusion

The formation of professional competences of specialists in the area of purchasing is an urgent technical and practical task. Under conditions of putting the Professional Standard of the Specialist in Purchasing into operation, it is necessary to systemize the ideas about the content and formation of professional competences of customers when studying according to additional professional programs of qualification improvement, professional retraining, undergraduate studies, master course, and preparation of academic staff. The quality of purchases depends on the level of professionalism of specialists who make them. In order to understand the required level of professional competences, it is necessary to clearly define the factors that contribute to their formation. The analysis of purchasing practice (both positive and unsuccessful), discussions with customers allowed to define the complex of basic factors related to forming professional competences of specialists in the area of purchases:

- the need of the state and society in the definite level of professional competences of the customer,

- the customer’s readiness to make high quality purchases under the current social and economic conditions,

- the unified approaches to the content of professional competences of customers, and

- the unified approaches to the content of educational programs to train customers.

The customer’s professional competence is an integrative characteristic of the level of professionalism based both on fundamental knowledge required for purchasing, and practical skills in the integration with personal features of the specialist in the area of purchases. The formation of the level of the customers’ professional competence that complies with specific tasks has its own peculiarities defined by the state of the legislation, economic and social development of the society [21]. The development of the purchasing area itself requires constant improvement of professional competences of customers. In order to successfully form professional competences of specialists who make purchases, it is necessary to constantly improve the management of the educational process [22]. New thinking of the customer does not occur on its own. This is a result of the required changes in the structure and content of educational programs and professional activity of teachers. Teachers have specific goals on forming specific professional competences in the area of purchasing with students in the context of the current social and economic situation, performing research works to change, expand, and implement the research and methodological base of state purchases. In the process of research, basic tasks of forming professional competences of customers were identified and substantiated: to create psychological and pedagogic terms and conditions of efficient preparation of competitive, highly professional, mobile, creative program graduates; to form with customers general and professional knowledge that contributes to functional communication including in a foreign language; to bring up the strive for performing professional activity in accordance with legal and ethical standards; to form the need in creativity, ability to develop and implement innovational ideas in the area of purchasing, etc. Solving these tasks allows to increase professional level of customers. It is strongly proved by the career growth of students of master courses and post-graduates according to the results of their research activity within the research work during the term. The performed research does not cover the whole complex of problems related to forming the customers’ professionalism. It is necessary to compare foreign and Russian experience of professional requirements to specialists who make purchases, etc.

The article was made within research project 16-02-50038 supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities.

References

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