Tag Archive | Methodology

Supply Chain Management: A Content Analysis

I just read an article by Vallet-Bellmunt et al. (2011): Supply Chain Management: A Multidisciplinary Content Analysis of Vertical Relations between Companies, 1997–2006. It gives a good overview of SCM research published in journals related to marketing, logistics, management, and marketing channels. The authors find that the work type of most research is empirical in nature, primary information is used more often than secondary information, the information type is mostly quantitative in nature, studies are mainly explanatory-predictive, the period of time in which the research is carried out is mostly cross-sectional, the geographical area is mainly national, and manufacturing samples are used most often. Particularly, the article confirms my suspicion that there is “shortage of studies conducted on the supply chain as a network of enterprises“. Instead, most research turns out to focus on a single enterprise or on the relationships of a single enterprise with its suppliers or customers.

Common-method Variance

In their interesting article, A tale of three perspectives: Examining post hoc statistical techniques for detection and correction of common method variance, Richardson et al. (2009) define common-method variance (CMV) as “systematic error variance shared among variables measured with and introduced as a function of the same method and/or source”. Post-hoc techniques promise help, if the research design does not allow the independent and dependent variables to use data from different methods and sources. Richardson et al. evaluate (1) the correlational marker, (2) the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) marker, and (3) the unmeasured latent method construct (ULMC) techniques. Interestingly, they find that only the CFA marker technique appears to have some practical value, but “recommend the CFA marker technique be used only as a means for providing evidence about the presence of CMV and only when researchers can be reasonably confident they have used an ideal marker”. A good description of the CFA marker technique can be found in an article by Williams et al. (2010).

Handbook of Management Scales

In 2010, I launched the Handbook of Management Scales. It is a collection of previously used multi-item measurement scales in empirical management research literature and contains numerous scales related to SCM research. It contains scales from high-ranked journals that are developed in a systematic scale development process and that are tested to measure a construct in terms of specification, dimensionality, reliability, and validity. For each scale at least objective items, source, and, if available, reliability (e.g. Cronbach’s alpha) are listed. Particularly, structural equation modeling might benefit from the Handbook of Management Scales. It is a wikibook and can be edited by anyone. Feel free to expand the Handbook of Management Scales by adding good scales. This can help to further develop the Handbook as a useful resource for empirical management research. Related handbooks are the Handbook of Metrics for Research in Operations Management and the Handbook of Marketing Scales.

Wieland, A. et al. (2010 ff.). Handbook of Management Scales. Wikibooks. Online: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Handbook_of_Management_Scales

Searching for the Paradigm of SCM Research

Before Thomas S. Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, it was accepted that science develops in a gradual chain of new truths that build on existing truths. Scientific progress, as mentioned by Karl Popper, can then be achieved just by consequently applying the scientific method. However, Kuhn’s book proved to be as revolutionary as its title may suggest. Besides “normal” phases of a science, in which the scientific method will be applied, there are also “revolutionary” phases. For example, researchers applied the scientific method within Newton’s paradigm, but Einstein’s revolution abruptly created a new paradigm. In addition, Kuhn describes sciences that are still searching for their paradigm (i.e., “pre-paradigm” phase). A broad range of different theories are used in SCM research, e.g., transaction cost theory and resource-based view. But these theories refer to the system “transaction” or the system “resource” rather than to our system, the “supply chain”. This indicates that our discipline has not yet found its paradigm.