“Everything has to be measurable!” seems to be the new academic doctrine. In the current issue of BizEd Magazine, Sharon Shinn delivers a detailed description of the problems associated with measuring scholarly impact. She concludes: “Tenure-track faculty continue to absorb responsibilities that take time away from conducting research, but the number of A-journal publications is still the primary metric that is considered in faculty evaluations. And that’s a problem still looking for an answer.” If A-journal publications are the primary metric, this could, for example, also prevent us from writing a good book (writing it can take several years!), even though it might be read all over the world. A key reason why people argue for exactly the kinds of rankings Shinn critiques is that they avoid the need for argument between competing factions with different views. Metrics are really useful in support of decisions. But the problems start when they are made.
Finding the right Master’s program can be a difficult exercise. In spite of their sometimes oversimplifying nature, rankings can provide a first indication to make this exercise a bit easier. One of such rankings is the 2013/2014 Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking, provided by SMBG, a French consulting company, and based on a global survey of recruiters, students and representatives of academic institutions. And here comes the Top 5 of Master’s programs in supply chain management: (5) Copenhagen Business School, Denmark: MSc in Economics and Business Administration – Supply Chain Management, (4) Purdue University, United States: MBA in Global Supply Chain and Logistics, (3) KEDGE Business School, France: MSc Global Supply Chain Management – ISLI, (2) Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria: Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, (1) Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands: MSc in Supply Chain Management. The full list can be found on the webpage of Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking in Supply Chain and Logistics. But be careful: Always keep in mind that there are both intended and unintended consequences of such rankings.
Update (2015-02-01): Eduniversal updated their list, but only the order of the Top 5 programs changed slightly.
I recently conducted a survey with leading supply chain management researchers and asked them a simple question: “If you were teaching a doctoral seminar, what would you assign as the […] most important books for the academic field of SCM (‘must-reads’)?” The following six books were recommended most often: (1) Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation by Sunil Chopra and Peter Meindl, (2) Logistics & Supply Chain Management by Martin Christopher, (3) Designing and Managing the Supply Chain: Concepts, Strategies and Case Studies by David Simchi-Levi, Philip Kaminsky and Edith Simchi-Levi, (4) Supply Chain Management: Design, Coordination and Operation by A. G. de Kok & Stephen C. Graves, (5) Purchasing & Supply Chain Management by Robert M. Monczka, Robert B. Handfield, Larry C. Giunipero and James L. Patterson, and (6) Foundations of Inventory Theory by Paul Zipkin. This list compares well with a list of the 10 Greatest Supply Chain Management Books of All Time identified based on Google Scholar.
You are looking for a business school and you do not know where to enroll? A ranking might help. One of these rankings is from Bloomberg Businessweek. As part of their 2013 Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking, they have now published the top 10 business schools in the area of operations management, an area that focuses on “the processes involved in production and everyday business operations, whether on an assembly line, a supply chain, or even something as common as a movie theater queue”. And these are the top 10 undergraduate business schools for operations management in the U.S.: (1) Pennsylvania (Wharton), (2) Washington (Olin), (3) Carnegie Mellon (Tepper), (4) Worcester Polytechnic, (5) Michigan (Ross), (6) North Carolina State (Poole), (7) North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler), (8) Boston U., (9) Georgia Tech (Scheller), (10) Buffalo. As I have discussed for the case of journal rankings some weeks ago, rankings always have advantages and disadvantages and should, therefore, be handled with care. However, Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking can, at least, provide some indications.
When analyzing the statistics of this blog, I find that SCM researchers appear to be very interested in posts concerning journal rankings, namely the quantitative journal ranking based on impact factors and qualitative rankings such as VHB-JOURQUAL or the ABS Academic Journal Guide 2018. I would not have published them if I wasn’t sure journal rankings can be beneficial for our research community. However, after an inspiring discussion with Alan McKinnon last week about his new article, Starry-eyed: Journal Rankings and the Future of Logistics Research (published in IJPDLM), I am more than ever convinced that our community should both acknowledge advantages and regard disadvantages of such rankings. Indeed, the ranking of journals “can skew the choice of research methodology, lengthen publication lead times, cause academics to be disloyal to the specialist journals in their field, favour theory over practical relevance and unfairly discriminate against relatively young disciplines such as logistics”, as Alan finds in his paper. So, what is your opinion?
McKinnon, Alan C. (2013). Starry-eyed: Journal Rankings and the Future of Logistics Research. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 43 (1), 6-17 https://doi.org/10.1108/09600031311293228
Have you ever tried to find the most cited paper in supply chain management research? I have done so. For this purpose, I used the term “supply chain” in Web of Knowledge for a topic search. The winning paper is titled Information distortion in a supply chain: The bullwhip effect and the authors are Hau L. Lee, V. Padmanabhan, and Seungjin Whang. The paper was published in Management Science in 1997 and has since been cited more than 1,000 times. Being a milestone for our field, the paper analyzes four sources of the bullwhip effect, and it discusses actions to be taken to mitigate the detrimental impact of the bullwhip effect. The bullwhip effect is one of only a few theories that explicitly refer to our system, the “supply chain”. It is hard to believe: The second most cited paper was written by the same authors. I express my respect for their outstanding performance.
Lee, Hau L., Padmanabhan, V., & Whang, Seungjin (1997). Information distortion in a supply chain: The bullwhip effect. Management Science, 43 (4), 546-558 https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.43.4.546
Update: This ranking is relatively old now. It might not reflect the current situation anymore.
Operations management (OM) and SCM are closely interlinked. A citation analysis conducted by Petersen et al. (2011) shows what journals operations management researchers were referencing in their research published in three major operations management journals between 1999 and 2005 (IJOPM, JOM, and POM). These are the ten most referenced journals: Management Science, Journal of Operations Management, Harvard Business Review, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Production and Operations Management, Strategic Management Journal, Decision Sciences, Academy of Management Review, European Journal of Operational Research, and Sloan Management Review. A full list can be found in the article. Not all referenced journals fall in the domain of operations management. Also operations research (OR)/management science, general management, and marketing journals inspire the field of operations management. Both the citation analysis and the meta-analysis are interesting supplementations to other rankings such as the VHB-JOURQUAL ranking and rankings based on impact factors. Keep in mind that journal rankings have a downside and should not be the only criteria for judging the value of our research.
In a previous version of this post, I discussed the 2011 version of the VHB-JOURQUAL journal ranking. Meanwhile this list has been updated, see VHB-JOURQUAL 3 for the 2015 version. Keep in mind that journal rankings have a downside and should not be the dominating criteria for judging the value of our research.
The Academic Journal Quality Guide by the British Association of Business Schools (ABS) is a hybrid journal ranking based partly on peer review, partly on statistical information, and partly upon editorial judgments. In a previous version of this post, I presented a ranking of supply chain management journals based on that list. However, as the initial post and the ABS ranking are already several years old and I do not want to mislead researchers, I decided to remove the old list from this blog. Moreover, the list has often been subject to criticism. Keep in mind that journal rankings have a downside and should not be the dominating criteria for judging the value of our research. Meanwhile, ABS has published a successor to the old ranking: the ABS Academic Journal Guide 2018 (see there).