Toward a Theory of Supply Chain Management

We have to admit that there is still no such thing as a “theory of supply chain management”. A new article by Mena et al. (2013), titled Toward a Theory of Multi-Tier Supply Chain Management, might bring us one step closer to such a theory by taking into account that supply chains have become more complex, more fragmented and longer. This piece of research, which is based on an inductive case study research design, hands theory-testing researchers interesting propositions on a silver platter: First, depending on the supply chain position, the members of the supply chain draw power from different sources. Second, the buyer needs to connect directly with the supplier’s supplier (“closed supply chain”) to influence product characteristics. Third, with a growing degree of such a direct connection, power is increasingly replaced by trust. Finally, closed supply chains are more stable, but require more management resources.

Mena, C., Humphries, A., & Choi, T.Y. (2013). Toward a Theory of Multi-Tier Supply Chain Management. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 49 (2), 58-77 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12003

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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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