Experiments have exerted a growing methodological influence on the SCM discipline in recent years. In their recently published article on this subject, entitled Experiments in Strategy Research: A Critical Review and Future Research Opportunities, Bolinger et al. (2021) examine and categorize experiments by “[identifying] topic areas in which experiments have been effectively deployed as well as several literature streams that have a limited amount of prior experimental research.” The authors also discuss challenges in using experiments, thereby addressing the level of analysis. SCM researchers should pay particular attention to this aspect, as many of the phenomena they study are not located at the firm level, as in strategy research, but at the supply chain level. The authors argue that their work “documents experimental research and provides a methodological practicum, thereby offering a platform for future experiment-based research in strategic management”. Although the authors review extant experimental work in strategic management, their results are certainly also very useful for SCM researchers.
Bolinger, M. T., Josefy, M. A., Stevenson, R., & Hitt, M. A. (2022). Experiments in Strategy Research: A Critical Review and Future Research Opportunities. Journal of Management, 48(1), 77–113. https://doi.org/10.1177/01492063211044416
Nobel laureates rarely publish articles in journals within the supply chain arena. Vernon L. Smith was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences “for having established laboratory experiments as a tool in empirical economic analysis, especially in the study of alternative market mechanisms”. In its recent issue, the Journal of Business Logistics had the great privilege to publish an article by Cary Deck and him, in which these ideas were applied to our field: Using Laboratory Experiments in Logistics and Supply Chain Research. It goes without saying that this article is certainly a must-read for SCM researchers, particularly, as the use of laboratory experiments has attracted some attention in our field. In their article, Deck and Smith highlight “several examples where experiments have been used to study issues relevant to logistics and supply chain management” and identify “several additional areas where laboratory experiments could be informative”.
Deck, C. & Smith, V. (2013). Using Laboratory Experiments in Logistics and Supply Chain Research. Journal of Business Logistics, 34 (1), 6-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbl.12006
Recently, the use of laboratory experiments has attracted attention in SCM research. The Journal of Supply Chain Management dedicated a discussion forum to that topic, which is introduced with an essay by Eckerd and Bendoly. In this forum, Bachrach and Bendoly “touch on some of the basic tenets of rigorous behavioral experimentation” and “promote such rigor in future SCM behavioral studies”. The commentary by Rungtusanatham et al. deals with scenario-based role-playing experiments and vignette design. The self-explanatory title of the article by Siemsen is The usefulness of behavioral laboratory experiments in supply chain management research. Finally, Stevens discusses questions to consider when selecting student samples. Similarly, Thomas has discussed this topic in his recent article When student samples make sense in logistics research, published in the Journal of Business Logistics. To sum up, experiments might become increasingly important as behavioral research plays a growing role in our field.