Searching for the Paradigm of SCM Research

Before Thomas S. Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, it was accepted that science develops in a gradual chain of new truths that build on existing truths. Scientific progress, as mentioned by Karl Popper, can then be achieved just by consequently applying the scientific method. However, Kuhn’s book proved to be as revolutionary as its title may suggest. Besides “normal” phases of a science, in which the scientific method will be applied, there are also “revolutionary” phases. For example, researchers applied the scientific method within Newton’s paradigm, but Einstein’s revolution abruptly created a new paradigm. In addition, Kuhn describes sciences that are still searching for their paradigm (i.e., “pre-paradigm” phase). A broad range of different theories are used in SCM research, e.g., transaction cost theory and resource-based view. But these theories refer to the system “transaction” or the system “resource” rather than to our system, the “supply chain”. This indicates that our discipline has not yet found its paradigm.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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