SCM definitions are a dime a dozen. An early definition comes from Cooper et al. (1997): “Supply chain management is the integration of business processes from end user through original suppliers that provides products, services and information that add value for customers.” However, this definition assumes that integration – the Emperor’s new suit? – is always good and that the unit of analysis is a customer-focused rather than a closed-loop system. Mentzer et al. (2001) argue that SCM has “the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole”. Here, it should be stated more explicitly that performance means “triple bottom line” performance. The CSCMP’s definition of SCM acknowledges that SCM is focused on interacting business entities. But, this definition violates some of Wacker’s (2004) eight rules for a “good” formal conceptual definition. Future SCM definitions should be focused on the coordination of business entities in closed-loop supply and demand networks.
I like open access. The USF Tampa Library hosts a collection of open access textbooks. One of them, which might be useful for many SCM researchers, has been published by Anol Bhattacherjee, a professor of information systems. It is titled Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices. The book, which is succinct and compact, is about the entire research process and it is designed “to introduce doctoral and graduate students to the process of scientific research”. The initial chapters 1 to 4 give an introduction to research. This includes topics such as “thinking like a researcher” and “theories in scientific research”. The chapters 5 to 8 are about the basics of empirical research (i.e, research design, construct measurement, scale reliability/validity, and sampling). The chapters 9 to 12 are concerned with data collection (i.e., survey research, experimental research, case research, and interpretive research). Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis is explained in the chapters 13 to 15. The last chapter is about research ethics.