Vol. 47, No. 2
A Call for Theory: The Maturation of the Supply Chain Management Discipline (Introduction)
This essay introduces a forum that discusses the conceptual theory development approach within the context of the supply chain management discipline. The purpose of the forum is to provide guidance to both authors and reviewers concerning how to carry out meaningful and impactful conceptual theory development research. In this essay, I discuss the conceptual theory development approach; describe the Journal of Supply Chain Management's perspective and philosophy toward conceptual theory development; offer broad guidelines to aid authors in crafting their work, and reviewers in effectively evaluating and helping authors to further develop their manuscripts; and introduce the remaining essays that comprise the discussion forum.
Craig R. Carter, Ph.D., is a professor in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Supply Chain Management.
Theory Building in the OM/SCM Field: Pointing to the Future by Looking at the Past
We examine select theoretical papers from the Journal of Supply Chain Management (JSCM) and Journal of Operations Management (JOM) over a time period of the last 10 years. Our study reveals good theory-building practices. We find that the authors delineate a clear boundary around the operations management and supply chain management (OM/SCM) issue of their theoretical consideration. They build on existing theoretical perspectives but also advance the existing body of literature by proposing new constructs that can have a broader appeal. Multiple theoretical perspectives are integrated to explain an OM/SCM issue. Some of these perspectives can involve theoretically opposing or orthogonal concepts. By doing so, the authors often challenge the underlying theoretical conception of a dominant paradigm.
Thomas Y. Choi, Ph.D., is the Bob Herberger Arizona Heritage Chair and professor of supply chain management in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona; and
John G. Wacker, Ph.D., is a visiting professor in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Building Theory about Supply Chain Management: Some Tools from the Organizational Sciences
In recent years, the field of supply chain management has placed increasing emphasis on using theories to describe, explain, and predict relationships among important concepts. One source of theory within this work has been the organizational sciences — an allied set of fields including management, strategic management, organizational behavior, and organization theory whose overarching goal is to identify ways to improve the functioning of organizations. Several powerful tools for guiding the theory building process — and for evaluating others' theory building efforts — have been developed within the organizational sciences, but have not yet found widespread application within the field of supply chain management. Our goal is to describe several of these tools and to explain how the tools can be used to enhance theory building within supply chain management.
David J. Ketchen, Jr., Ph.D., is the Lowder Eminent Scholar and professor of management at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama; and
G. Tomas Hult, Ph.D., is the Eli Broad Professor of Marketing and International Business Education and Research at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.
Moving from Ideas to a Theoretical Contribution: Comments on the Process of Developing Theory in Organizational Research
The topic of theory development remains an ongoing area of interest among management scholars. Much of the discussion on the topic has focused on the question of what constitutes a theoretical contribution. In contrast, this article emphasizes the process through which ideas develop into a value-added theoretical contribution. The article highlights the paradoxical nature of the demands that the theory development process poses to scholars.
Violina Rindova, Ph.D., is the Ralph B. Thomas Professor of Business in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
Getting the Reader to "I Get It!": Clarification, Differentiation and Illustration
This essay discusses the process of developing theory during the review processes for conceptual articles. Because conceptual work proceeds from a logic of generation rather than verification, authors and reviewers of conceptual articles face unfamiliar challenges when they are more accustomed to writing or reviewing empirical research.
Paul F. Skilton, Ph.D., is assistant professor of management in the College of Business at Washington State University (TriCities) in Richland. Washington.
Effects of Suppliers' Reputation on the Future of Buyer-Supplier Relationships: The Mediating Roles of Outcome Fairness and Trust
This study is motivated by the interest in looking beyond the must-have, tangible performance factors of buyer-supplier relationships to understand the role of intangible factors that affect buyer-supplier relationship continuity and future collaboration. The article uses three sequential structural equation models that integrate relationship theory, signaling theory and social exchange theory to empirically evaluate the effects of suppliers' reputation on the future of buyer-supplier relationships. This multi-theoretical approach shows that reputation at the start of a project has a direct effect on a buyer's future collaboration intentions with suppliers. However, when outcome fairness (an economic factor) is added to the model, the effect of reputation is partially mediated. Conversely, when trust during the project collaboration (a social factor) is added to the model, the effects of reputation and outcome fairness are completely mediated. These results support the theory that trust during the project collaboration has a stronger influence on the future of buyer-supplier relationships than fair economic rewards or reputation.
Stephan M. Wagner, Ph.D., is the Kuehne Founding Chair of Logistics Management Technology and Economics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland,
Linda Silver Coley, Ph.D., is assistant professor of marketing and supply chain management in the Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; and
Eckhard Lindemann, Ph.D., is a research fellow in the department of logistics management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.
Benefitting from Supplier Operational Innovativeness: The Influence of Supplier Evaluations and Absorptive Capacity
As suppliers take on more important roles in manufacturing and designing products, their operational innovativeness becomes an important source of value. We use the relational view theory to hypothesize for a positive association between operational innovativeness of established suppliers and manufacturer performance. Furthermore, we posit that the manufacturer can enhance this value by ensuring that the supplier is performing as expected (i.e. through supplier evaluation programs), and by focusing on learning from the supplier (i.e. through absorptive capacity). We then develop hypotheses as to how the influence of these two approaches differs when working with suppliers assigned to different types of tasks. We test the hypotheses using survey responses from 136 manufacturers evaluating 272 of their suppliers. Results show that supplier evaluation programs and absorptive capacity both are effective means of augmenting the benefits of supplier operational innovativeness. Contrary to theoretical predictions, benefits of operational innovativeness of suppliers with knowledge-intensive tasks are enhanced through increased absorptive capacity and through increased supplier evaluation programs.
Arash Azadegan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the College of Business at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Making Sense of Supply Disruption Risk Research: A Conceptual Framework Grounded in Enactment Theory
The rich stream of supply disruption risk (SDR) literature incorporates several different theories and constructs across studies, but lacks a unifying decision-making framework. We review 79 SDR studies and advance a comprehensive framework, grounded in enactment theory, which integrates the disparate elements of SDR research and offers new insights into the SDR decision-making process. Enactment theory posits a three-stage, closed-loop process, consisting of enactment, selection and retention, through which individuals process and make sense of equivocal environments. We suggest that this sense-making process also underlies SDR decision-making, and provides the theoretical underpinnings for the environmental, organizational and individual factors that affect the formation of buyers' perceptions of SDR and the actions they take to mitigate such risks. In accordance with our conceptual framework, we develop seven propositions that advance the social and psychological factors that drive the idiosyncratic nature of SDR decision-making.
Scott C. Ellis, Ph.D., is assistant professor of supply chain management in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky,
Jeff Shockley, Ph.D., is assistant professor of operations management in the Department of Management, in the College of Business and Economics at Radford University in Radford, Virginia; and
Raymond M. Henry, Ph.D., is assistant professor of computer and information cciences at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.
What Drives the Choice of a Third-Party Logistics Provider?
It is generally believed that companies choose supply chain partners on the basis of their distinctive value propositions — a fact one would also expect holds true when companies choose a logistics service provider. However, faced with the complexities of varied customer demands, it can be difficult for logistics service companies to obtain an effective understanding of how customers differentially value the service components they offer. In this paper, we address this issue by identifying the factors that are important in a customer's choice of a logistics service provider. Using stated choice methods we explore the relative importance of seven service attributes using a sample of 309 managers with a central role in purchasing logistics services across a range of industries and countries. The results reveal that three distinct decision models populate our data where the preferences for different logistics service attributes — such as price and delivery performance — vary greatly between customer groups represented by these models. Strategically, our findings provide the management of a third-party logistics provider with a logical starting point from which to determine the goals that are set for their operations, particularly in choosing the customer segments to service.
Edward J. Anderson, Ph.D., is professor of decision sciences, and Chair of the operations management and econometrics discipline, in the Faculty of Economics and Business at Sydney University in Sydney, Australia; in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University, Boise, Idaho,
Tim Coltman, Ph.D., is associate professor and Deputy Director of the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research at the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia,
Timothy M. Devinney, Ph.D., is professor of strategy in the School of Marketing at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia; and
Byron Keating, Ph.D., is associate professor of service management in the discipline of tourism and services, Faculty of Business and Government at the University of Canberra in Canberra, Australia.