Tag Archive | Article

Implications from the Rana Plaza Disaster (Guest Post by Brian Jacobs and Vinod Singhal)

Today’s guest post comes from Brian Jacobs and Vinod Singhal, who present the results of their recent research on social issues in global textile supply chains.

Rana Plaza, an eight-story building in Bangladesh that housed garment factories employing approximately 5000 workers, collapsed on April 24, 2013. The resulting fatalities (over 1100) and injuries (over 2400) made it one of the worst industrial accidents in history. The scale of this tragedy increased awareness of the risks and costs of sourcing from low-cost countries. Such risks and costs are often assumed to be sufficient to motivate firms to source production in developed, high-cost countries rather than developing, low-cost countries. To examine this assumption, we studied the stock market reaction to 39 global apparel retailers with significant sourcing in Bangladesh. We found that although stock market reaction to retailers on the day of the Rana Plaza disaster was negative, its magnitude and significance dissipated by the following day. Our research shows that capital market forces alone are insufficient to prevent tragedies such as the Rana Plaza disaster, or to motivate large scale changes in sourcing patterns. In fact, garment exports from Bangladesh have increased since 2013 even though substandard working conditions persist. While managers should weigh ethics and their moral obligation in addition to financial considerations, it is doubtful that firms can affect the needed changes without participation by non-market forces such as NGOs and policymakers. For full details of our research, please see our article The Effect of the Rana Plaza Disaster on Shareholder Wealth of Retailers: Implications for Sourcing Strategies and Supply Chain Governance, forthcoming in Journal of Operations Management.

Vinod Singhal is a Professor of Operations Management and holds the Charles W. Brady Chair at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia. Brian Jacobs is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Jacobs, B., & Singhal, V. (2017). The Effect of the Rana Plaza Disaster on Shareholder Wealth of Retailers: Implications for Sourcing Strategies and Supply Chain Governance. Journal of Operations Management DOI: 10.1016/j.jom.2017.01.002

The More Trust the Better! Really?

We certainly all agree: Trust between supply chain partners has a lot of benefits. However, in their forthcoming study of trust in the buyer–supplier relationship, Villena and her co-authors argue that there is a “duality of trust”: Trust has benefits but it can also become dysfunctional if it is excessive. The results of their study show “that trust follows an inverted-U shape with performance”, i.e., at a certain point the negative effects offset the benefits of trust and performance declines. The authors also show that “[t]rust’s negative effects are more severe for those buyers that are highly dependent and operate in stable markets”. But why could trust ever be harmful? Well, trust might create “blind faith” into a supplier when the buyer is too optimistic. Another explanation could be that buyers might avoid tensions with suppliers that they otherwise trust – even if they observe declining performance. Trust can also increase reliance and unnecessary obligations that constrain the buyer.

Villena, V.H., Choi, T.Y., & Revilla, E. (in press). Revisiting Interorganizational Trust: Is More Always Better or Could More Be Worse? Journal of Management

Performance Measurement Systems in the Era of Turbulence

Our new article, titled Accounting for External Turbulence of Logistics Organizations via Performance Measurement Systems (Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 21, No. 6), is out now. It deals with the interface of supply chain risk management – a “hot topic” in SCM research – and performance measurement systems (PMS). The article was co-authored by Andreas Bühler, Carl Marcus Wallenburg and me. We address two research objectives: First, we focus on the outcome of PMS design for turbulence: We argue “that accounting for external turbulence via metrics in PMS design is beneficial for logistics organizations and show to what extent it increases organizational resilience and the [performance] of the companies”. Second, we focuses on the antecedents of PMS design for turbulence: We demonstrate “that the approach which the upper management of an organization has toward how to use the PMS in general will strongly impact the extent to which an organization incorporates risk metrics into its PMS”.

Bühler, A., Wallenburg, C.M., & Wieland, A. (2016). Accounting for External Turbulence of Logistics Organizations via Performance Measurement Systems. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 21 (6), 694-708 DOI: 10.1108/SCM-02-2016-0040

If you do not have access to the article, the accepted author manuscript can be downloaded for free at Copenhagen Business School’s Research@CBS platform (click on the document in the green box there).

2015 Harold E. Fearon Best Paper Award Winners

The Journal of Supply Chain Management has recently announced the winner of the 2015 Harold E. Fearon Best Paper Award, which is the award for the best paper published in that journal. The award goes to an article by Kim & Choi: Deep, Sticky, Transient, and Gracious: An Expanded Buyer–Supplier Relationship Typology. Herein, the authors propose an expanded typology of buyer–supplier relationships, which they theorize in two orthogonal aspects: “(1) relational posture, that is, how two firms regard each other (as cooperative partners or as adversaries) and (2) relational intensity, that is, how much two firms’ operations are interlinked (closely tied or arms-length)”. And these are the two finalists for the 2015 Harold E. Fearon Best Paper Award: Examining Absorptive Capacity in Supply Chains: Linking Responsive Strategy and Firm Performance by Dobrzykowski, Leuschner, Hong & Roh, and When Buyer-Driven Knowledge Transfer Activities Really Work: A Motivation–Opportunity–Ability Perspective by Kim, Hur & Schoenherr. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading these insightful articles as much as I did.

Kim, Y., & Choi, T. (2015). Deep, Sticky, Transient, and Gracious: An Expanded Buyer-Supplier Relationship Typology. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 51 (3), 61-86 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12081

Dobrzykowski, D., Leuschner, R., Hong, P., & Roh, J. (2015). Examining Absorptive Capacity in Supply Chains: Linking Responsive Strategy and Firm Performance. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 51 (4), 3-28 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12085

Kim, H., Hur, D., & Schoenherr, T. (2015). When Buyer-Driven Knowledge Transfer Activities Really Work: A Motivation-Opportunity-Ability Perspective. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 51 (3), 33-60 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12077

Introducing the Journal of Supply Chain Management (Guest Post by the Co-Editors-in-Chief)

In today’s guest post, Mark Pagell, Brian Fugate and Barbara Flynn highlight what will guide them in their tenure as the new Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Supply Chain Management.

Being appointed as the co-editors of JSCM is both a great honor and a significant responsibility. The Journal’s mission will remain to be the journal of choice among supply chain scholars across disciplines, by attracting high-quality, high-impact behavioral research focusing on theory building and empirical methodologies. Our changes will be evolutionary not revolutionary and will build on the solid foundations built by the former editors. In our tenure we will be guided by the following: First, JSCM will continue to publish rigorous, empirical research on SCM topics. And this research must contribute to theory, through testing established theoretical foundations or building theory that is unique to the domain. Second, we recognize that methodological best practice is always evolving and situationally specific hence we will not create one-size-fits-all rules that inhibit the development of supply chain knowledge and theory. Third, we have a responsibility to the wider community, especially early career researchers, to continue providing timely and developmental reviews as part of a fair editorial process. JSCM has progressed substantially over the last decade. With your help and guided by the values described above, we hope to continue that progression. For more information please read our recent JSCM editorial.

Mark Pagell holds a Chair in Global Leadership and is a Professor of Sustainable Supply Chain Management at University College Dublin, Ireland. Brian Fugate is the Oren Harris Chair in Transportation, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Arkansas, United States. Barbara Flynn is the Richard M. and Myra Louise Professor of Manufacturing Management at Indiana University, United States.

Pagell, M., Fugate, B., & Flynn, B. (2016). Editorial. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 52 (4), 3-4 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12128

Why Isn’t SCM Research More Relevant to SCM Practitioners?

“There’s a pervasive paradox in academia”, as Nobel (2016) writes in her recent article (Why Isn’t Business Research More Relevant to Business Practitioners?): “Research conducted at business schools often offers no obvious value to people who work in the world of business.” It seems that “working on relevant problems has little impact on faculty members’ academic success” and the ability to engage with practitioners is not evaluated by academic appointment committees. But what can be done to avoid a disconnect between academics and practitioners in SCM research? How can we be more relevant? One way could be that editors and reviewers routinely ask for research questions that are relevant to practitioners. That does not mean that our research should be “applied”. But it needs to be ensured that research is relevant to the decisions faced by policymakers, managers, and other stakeholders. Nobel’s article provides several ideas that could help SCM researchers to become more relevant.

Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management

What are the future dominant research themes in supply chain management? In my new article, Mapping the Landscape of Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management, co-authored with Robert Handfield and Christian Durach and published in the Journal of Business Logistics, we make an attempt to answer this important question. Our research is based on survey data collected from 141 SCM scholars. Big data ranks 1st on the list of topics that scholars expect will become important in the next years. Interestingly, this topic does not even appear in the top 10 of the list of topics that scholars think should become important. This list is led by sustainability and risk management instead. We calculated the differences between the will-become-important and should-become-important topics. The largest discrepancies can be found for: (1) the “people dimension” of SCM, (2) ethical issues, (3) internal integration, (4) transparency/visibility, and (5) human capital/talent management. These five under-represented topics could thus be good choices for future research projects or special journal issues.

Wieland, A., Handfield, R., & Durach, C. (2016). Mapping the Landscape of Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management. Journal of Business Logistics, 37 (3), 1-8 DOI: 10.1111/jbl.12131

If you don’t have access to the journal, please feel free to request a copy of the paper via ResearchGate (blue button on their page).

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