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Journal of Supply Chain Management

Article Abstracts

Vol. 47, No. 3
Summer 2011

  • Introduction to the Discussion Forum on Using Experiments in Supply Chain Management Research

    The use of laboratory experiments in supply chain management research is gaining momentum and provides an opportunity for researchers to make exciting new contributions to the field. In this introductory essay, we describe the motivation for the discussion forum, and introduce the four remaining essays presented in the forum. These essays discuss various topics concerning experimental research, with the goal of enhancing our community's understanding of experimental methods.
    Stephanie Eckerd, MBA, is a doctoral candidate in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; and
    Elliot Bendoly, Ph.D., is the Caldwell Research Fellow and an associate professor of information systems and operations management in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Rigor in Behavioral Experiments: A Basic Primer for Supply Chain Management Researchers

    The study of the nuances of human behavior in supply chain management (SCM) contexts and the behavioral reactions that accompany changes in operating policies has finally started to gain a strong headwind. This has come after several decades of operational modeling in which the behavior of the human actors, so critical to the mechanics of operating policies, has either been largely simplified or ignored. With the growth in joint work in experimental behavioral testing and improvements in behavioral codification, greater insight into the practicality of operational policies is now emerging. Yet in order to ensure such practicality, the rigor of this new joint experimentation needs to be ensured. While SCM researchers have a rich history in the rigor of artificial modeling, the sparse history of behavioral experimentation in SCM provides much less evidence of an understanding of what "rigor" with such methods entails. The purpose of this brief essay is to touch on some of the basic tenets of rigorous behavioral experimentation, and hopefully to promote such rigor in future SCM behavioral studies.
    Daniel G. Bachrach, Ph.D., is the Morrow Faculty Excellence Fellow and an associate professor in the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and
    Elliot Bendoly, Ph.D., is the Caldwell Research Fellow and an associate professor of information systems and operations management in the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • The Vignette in a Scenario-Based Role-Playing Experiment

    A scenario-based role-playing experiment is well suited for research seeking to understand how and why operations and supply chain managers, when dealing with complex issues, form their judgments and preferences or make the decisions that they do. As a method for data collection, a scenario-based role-playing experience deploys varying versions of a descriptive vignette to convey scripted information about specific levels of factors of interest that are hypothesized, upfront, to influence judgments, preferences or decisions. Human subjects are recruited to assume an a priori defined role and, in this role, to then form their judgments and preference or make their decisions in response to the scripted information conveyed in at least one version of the vignette. For these judgments, preferences or decisions to be useful for subsequent statistical analysis, the vignette and its varying versions to be deployed in a scenario-based role-playing experiment must be appropriately designed (i.e., written and presented) and validated. This commentary speaks to this "vignette design and validation" issue and prescribes a three-stage process to create a vignette with its derivative versions that is clear, realistic, complete (in that it contains all information necessary for human subjects to assume their role and to consequently provide their reactions and responses), and is effective (in that it cues human subjects to perceive the desired levels of the factors of interest).
    M. Rungtusanatham., Ph.D., is an associate professor in the operations and management sciences department at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota,
    Cynthia Wallin, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of global supply chain management in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; and
    Stephanie Eckerd, MBA, is a doctoral candidate in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

  • The Usefulness of Behavioral Laboratory Experiments in Supply Chain Management Research

    Behavioral supply chain management emphasizes the use of controlled laboratory experiments as a valid research methodology. This article discusses control, efficiency and responsiveness as unique advantages of behavioral experiments. While often sacrificing external validity, laboratory experiments allow the clear temporal separation of cause and effect, as well as the exclusion of spurious causes through randomization. Further, they are efficient to run, requiring little cost and time compared with extensive field studies or multiple site surveys. This makes it easier to use observations made in experiments to change theoretical models, since modified predictions can be more easily tested on new data.
    Enno Siemsen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Questions to Consider When Selecting Student Samples

    Researchers often face strong opposition to the use of student samples in laboratory studies. Rather than eschewing this methodology, it is useful to consider theoretical scope (universalistic versus particularistic) and the study's primary purpose (internal versus external validity). When theories are universalistic or the study's purpose is to establish internally valid relationships, laboratory studies with student samples may yield useful insights in supply chain management research.
    Cynthia Kay Stevens, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

  • Coping with Time Pressure and Knowledge Sharing in Buyer-Supplier Relationships

    Increasingly, suppliers are being tasked to spend large amounts of time with strategic customers in order to promote effective knowledge sharing and coordination between supply chain members. Suppliers also are expected to deal with added pressures on their time from increasing workloads, unanticipated problems and changing priorities. Psychology research suggests that individuals (e.g., supplier personnel) cope with such time pressure by either working faster or avoiding risks. Existing research, however, has largely ignored the impact of these time pressure coping mechanisms (TPCMs) in interactive contexts such as buyer-supplier relationships. This study develops the notion that TPCMs impact knowledge sharing in buyer-supplier relationships. Specifically, results from a between subjects scenario-based experiment indicate that suppliers using TPCMs decrease a buyer's willingness to share knowledge and exchange information. Such adverse effects are most evident in close collaborative buyer-supplier relationships. These findings advance theory and provide insight for managers seeking to improve knowledge sharing through buyer-supplier relationships in today's time-constrained business environment.
    Rodney W. Thomas, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of management, marketing and logistics at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia,
    Brian S. Fugate, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of supply chain management at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado; and
    Nevena T. Koukova, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of marketing in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

  • Managing the Supplier-Supplier Interface in Product Development: The Moderating Role of Technological Newness

    When developing products such as computer, machinery and automobiles, interdependent components developed by different first-tier suppliers must fit together and perform as expected in the final product. Applying information processing theory and social network theory, this research explores three approaches that buyers can use to manage the interface between interdependent first-tier suppliers during product development. These are (1) using an interactive team; (2) making a supplier-supplier connection by encouraging first-tier suppliers to communicate, coordinate and mutually adjust; and (3) using a modular design. Data were gathered in an online survey of buying firms in manufacturing industries and hypotheses were tested using hierarchical moderated regression. Results show that interactive teams increase the quality of the component system, and that modular designs increase product development efficiency. Interactive teams are more beneficial for system quality when the technology used for components is new to suppliers.
    Yunsook Hong, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of supply chain management in the department of management at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio; and
    Janet L. Hartley, Ph.D., is a professor in the department of management, and the director of the Supply Chain Management Institute, at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

  • The Flexibility of Logistics Service Providers and its Impact on Customer Loyalty: An Empirical Study

    The use of logistics outsourcing and the degree of competition in the logistics service industry have significantly increased over the past decade. In order to reach and maintain an important role in such a business environment, logistics service providers (LSPs) have to find ways to achieve competitive advantage. In this regard, the role of flexibility as a potential source of competitive advantage for an LSP is unclear, as empirical research on flexibility in an industrial services context and specifically in logistics outsourcing relationships is lacking. Therefore, using the resource-based view theory as the theoretical foundation, this study develops a conceptual model of flexibility as a capability of an LSP and its impact on customer loyalty, a central outcome for LSPs in a competitive business environment. Further, taking a relational as well as a knowledge perspective with respect to the antecedents of flexibility, the relational capability collaboration and the knowledge resources of supply chain partner insight and communication are integrated into the model. Finally, the relationships of collaboration as a capability with knowledge resources as well as with customer loyalty are considered. This study analyzes 155 logistics outsourcing relationships using a survey method and partial least squares structural equation modeling to empirically assess the proposed relationships. The results reveal that LSP flexibility is a strong driver of all core dimensions of customer loyalty (i.e. retention, extension and referrals) and thus a source of competitive advantage for LSPs. Further, collaboration positively influences LSP flexibility and also the loyalty dimensions, supporting its significant role in a supply chain relationship. Finally, knowledge resources have a positive effect on LSP flexibility as well as on collaboration, indicating the importance of such resources in facilitating crucial capabilities.
    Evi Hartmann, Dr. Ing., is professor of business administration, with a focus on supply chain management, at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen (Nurnberg), Germany; and
    Alexander de Grahl, Dipl.-Wi.-Ing., is a research assistant focusing on logistics and supply chain management at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen (Nurnberg), Germany.