Vol. 45, No. 2
On Social Network Analysis in a Supply Chain Context (invited paper)
The network perspective rapidly is becoming a lingua franca across virtually all of the sciences, from anthropology to physics. In this paper, we provide supply chain researchers with an overview of social network analysis, covering both specific concepts (such as structural holes or betweenness centrality) and the generic explanatory mechanisms that network theorists often invoke to relate network variables to outcomes of interest. One reason for discussing mechanisms is to facilitate appropriate translation and context-specific modification of concepts, rather than blind copying. We also have taken care to apply network concepts to both "hard" types of ties (e.g., materials and money flows) and "soft" types of ties (e.g., friendships and sharing-of-information), as both are crucial (and mutually embedded) in the supply chain context. Another aim of the review is to point to areas in other fields from which we think it is particularly suitable for supply chain management (SCM) to draw network concepts, such as sociology, ecology, input-output research and even the study of romantic networks. We believe the portability of many network concepts provides a potential for unifying many fields, and a consequence of this for SCM may be to decrease the distance between SCM and other branches of management science.
Stephen P. Borgatti, Ph.D., is the Paul Chellgren Endowed Chair of Management in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Xun Li is a Ph.D. candidate in Decision Science and Information Systems in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.
Physical Distribution and Channel Management: A Knowledge and Capabilities Perspective (invited paper)
This paper examines the interrelationship between physical distribution and channel management. A conceptual framework is developed, based on industry and firm conditions, to explain the relative importance of physical distribution functions in the field of channel management. The need for knowledge transfer and integration among channel members to enable organizational capabilities lies at the heart of the research approach.
Gary L. Frazier, D.B.A., is the Richard and Jarda Hurd Professor of Distribution Management in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Building a More Complete Theory of Sustainable Supply Chain Management Using Case Studies of 10 Exemplars
Case studies of 10 exemplar firms are used to build a coherent and testable model of the elements necessary to create a sustainable supply chain. The cases build on previous research by examining the chain as an entirety, by explicitly examining both the social and environmental outcomes of the chain's activities, and by explicitly asking what these exemplar organizations are doing that is unique in regards to managing their supply chains in a sustainable manner. The analysis suggests that the practices that lead to a more sustainable supply chain are equal parts best practices in traditional supply chain management and new behaviors, some of which run counter to existing, accepted "best" practice.
Mark Pagell, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems in the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Zhaohui Wu, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Operations Management in the College of Business at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
Integration in the Global Sourcing Organization — An Information Processing Perspective
Global sourcing refers to the integration of decision making across worldwide purchasing units within a multinational corporation (MNC). In order to manage the integration challenge, firms have a number of tools, varying from centralization and formalization to cross-locational teams. In this paper, we focus on explaining how and why to integrate in different circumstances. The aim of this paper is to complement prior research on global sourcing organizations, which still is rather scarce and more exploratory in nature. By extending the arguments of the information processing perspective of organizations to the global sourcing context, we seek to propel a theoretical discussion on integration in the global sourcing organization. Based on the results of 12 case studies in three MNCs, we propose that integration approaches in global sourcing organizations vary depending on the three contingencies of category characteristics, supply environment characteristics, and interdependence of the purchasing units.
Gergard Trautmann, Dr., is a consultant at Siemens AG in Munchen (Germany),
Virpi Turkulainen, D. Sc. Tech., is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Industrial Management at Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki (Finland),
Evi Hartmann, Dr. Ing., is Assistant Professor of Purchasing and Supply Management at the European Business School in Wiesbaden (Germany)
Lydia Bals, Dr., is Senior Consultant at Bayer Business Consulting (Germany).
Innovation in Logistics Outsourcing Relationships: Proactive Improvement by Logistics Service Providers as a Driver of Customer Loyalty
Flint, Larsson, Gammelgaard and Mentzer (2005) and Wagner (2008) emphasize that innovativeness may help logistics service providers (LSPs) differentiate themselves from their competitors. Within the domain of innovation, relationship-specific proactive improvement by LSPs may play a vital role because, in logistics outsourcing relationships, the problem of ex post adaptation exists (Rindfleisch and Heide 1997). So far, however, it remains unclear to what extent LSPs may utilize their proactive improvement to create customer loyalty, and whether a focus on either cost or performance improvements is preferable. The present study analyzes 298 logistics outsourcing relationships using a survey method and structural equation modeling to assess the effect that proactive cost improvement and proactive performance improvement have on customer loyalty. Additionally, the moderating effects of "service complexity" and "length of contracting period" on the base effects are analyzed. The results reveal that proactive cost improvement and proactive performance improvement both are strong drivers of all core dimensions of loyalty (retention, extension, and referrals). However, this finding is a composition of two different patterns. Cost improvement, and thus efficiency, is the main driver of customer loyalty when the outsourced services are simple and the contracting period relatively short. A clear shift of importance is observable when services increase in complexity and the contracting period lengthens. In such settings, customer loyalty is primarily driven by proactive performance improvement, and thus effectiveness, while cost improvement plays a subordinate role.
Carl Marcus Wallenburg, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Logistics Management at the WHU — Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar (Germany).