We should not ignore that researchers – in general but also in supply chain management – are not always as properly trained to perform data analysis as they should be. A highly visible discussion is currently going on regarding the prevalent misuses of p-values. For example, too often research has been considered as “good” research, just because the p-value passed a specific threshold – also in the SCM discipline. But the p-value is not an interpretation, it rather needs interpretation! Some statisticians now even prefer to replace p-values with other approaches and some journals have decided to ban p-values. Based on this ongoing discussion, the influential American Statistical Association has now issued a Statement on Statistical Significance and p-values. It contains six principles underlying the proper use and interpretation of the p-value. As a discipline, we should take these principles seriously: in our own research, but also when we review the manuscripts of our colleagues.
Wasserstein, R., & Lazar, N. (2016). The ASA’s Statement on p-values: Context, Process, and Purpose. The American Statistician DOI: 10.1080/00031305.2016.1154108
I believe we all have already experienced this: The same concept can sometimes be defined in very different ways by different authors. Conceptual clarity would certainly be great, but how can we achieve it? Think, for example, about concepts such as trust, integration or dependence. So, what do we really mean when we are talking about them? In their new article, Recommendations for Creating Better Concept Definitions in the Organizational, Behavioral, and Social Sciences, Podsakoff, MacKenzie & Podsakoff (2016) present four stages for developing good conceptual definitions: Researchers need to (1) “identify potential attributes of the concept and/or collect a representative set of definitions”; (2) “organize the potential attributes by theme and identify any necessary and sufficient ones”; (3) “develop a preliminary definition of the concept”; and (4) “[refine] the conceptual definition of the concept”. For each of these stages, the authors provide comprehensive guidelines and examples which can help supply chain researchers to improve the definitions of the concepts we use.
Podsakoff, P., MacKenzie, S., & Podsakoff, N. (2016). Recommendations for Creating Better Concept Definitions in the Organizational, Behavioral, and Social Sciences. Organizational Research Methods, 19 (2), 159-203 DOI: 10.1177/1094428115624965
Managing risks in a global supply chain can be a difficult task, as I argue in my new essay, titled Managing the Unknown: How We Should Tackle Risk in Global Supply Chains. Most importantly, there are substantial differences between two systems: “the company” and “the supply chain”. In a company it might be relatively easy to get an overview about all the risks that might occur. But a supply chain consists of hundreds, sometimes thousands of companies. Consider all the suppliers, suppliers’ suppliers etc. in an automotive supply chain. Approaches to manage risks that occur in a company are, therefore, not necessarily scalable to manage all the risks that occur in a system as complex and dynamic as a supply chain. As I also argue, we need to increase the robustness of a supply chain instead. Based on the results of our research, my essay presents both intra-organizational and inter-organizational factors that can help companies to increase the robustness of their supply chains.