Is the Supply Chain Management File Drawer Empty? Introduction to the Discussion Forum on Nonsignificant and Contradictory Results
This essay examines what is in a sense a failed project, and builds on that failure to hopefully stimulate fresh thinking on how we do supply chain management (SCM) research. The initial aim of this discussion form was to encourage authors with manuscripts that were languishing in a "file drawer" to submit them once more. But the call for papers received one inquiry and no submissions. This seemingly empty file drawer let us in a very different direction, one of trying to understand why the SCM file drawer might be empty. This essay summarizes the assumptions that guided our process of discovery, what we actually did when confronted with no submissions, what we found via our additional data collection and then concludes with some suggestions for moving the field forward. Mark Pagell, Ph.D., is an associate professor of operations and management of information systems in the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Canada;
and Mehmet Murat Kristal, Ph.D., is an associate professor of operations and management of information systems in the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Canada.
The Reviewers Hated It! What to do When Your Results Don't Add Up
This essay explores the reasons why studies with non-significant results often do not get published, by looking back on a subset of submissions from the past 15 years. Suggestions are then provided to authors who face the dilemma of non-significance. Robert Handfield, Ph.D., is the Bank of American Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Findings Sweet and Sour
This essay deals with statistical significance and counterintuitive findings. It highlights techniques that may assist authors to avoid the failure of research projects and, in particular, of those in international settings. Finally, it discusses the potential "upside" of nonsignificance. Lutz Kaufmann, Ph.D., holds the Chair for International Business and Supply Management at WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany.
Why There is No "Insignificance" for a Relevant Question
Defining the Ph.D. research topic is a non-trivial task, and will influence a young scholar's career way beyond the actual defense of the thesis. This note makes a case for allowing the research topic to be inspired by real-world problems and phenomena, and to let the world of practice challenge the resulting findings. This, it is argued, will lead to a personally more satisfying and sustainable research career, as well as act as an effective safeguard against so-called "insignificant" or "counterintuitive" findings. Matthias Holweg, Ph.D., is a reader in operations management, and the Director of the Centre for Process Excellence and Innovation, at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
On the Importance of Good Questions and Empirically Grounded Theorizing
The absence of significant and counterintuitive findings is oftentimes considered a troubling weakness of a doctoral dissertation and, in general, of any piece of research. I suggest that these problems can be mitigated by incorporating practitioners' perspectives in the early theorizing steps of the research. I also propose that the researcher should focus on asking questions that are theoretically and practically intriguing, instead of becoming too concerned by the counterintuitiveness of expected findings. Fabrizio Salvador, Ph.D., is a professor of operations management at the Instituto de Empresa/IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.
A Tale of Two Partnerships: Socialization in the Development of Buyer-Supplier Relationships
We contribute to the emerging literature on the role of socialization in developing buyer-supplier relationships. We conduct a dyadic, multiple informant-based, longitudinal study of the development of two buyer-supplier relationships. We carry out a detailed examination of the effect of socialization on communication quality by interviewing persons from both the buying and supplying companies, at different levels, over three consecutive years, beginning with the inception of a key supplier program initiated by our focal buying company. Our results show that, contrary to what has been suggested by other studies, socialization in buyer-supplier relationships does not invariably have a positive impact on communication quality. We offer two possible explanations for our findings. First, we argue that the atmosphere created by past conflicts can diminish the positive effect of socialization on communication quality. Second, when a relationship is in a declining life-cycle phase, especially when one of the parties has strong doubts about the value of continued collaboration, socialization efforts may not contribute to improved communication performance. Hence, for socialization to have a positive effect on communication quality, socialization tactics must be tailored, taking into account the history and current phase of the relationship. Mark van de Vijver, Ph.D., is the Director of Strategy and Development at Air France-KLM Procurement, and is affiliated with the Department of Organization and Strategy at Tilburg University in Tilburg, The Netherlands, Bart Vos, Ph.D., is the NEVI Professor of Purchasing Management at Tilburg University in Tilburg, The Netherlands;
and Henk Akkermans, Dr., is a professor at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management at Tilburg, University in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Domestic Supplier Integration in the Chinese Automotive Industry: The Buyer's Perspective
This paper presents the results of an empirical analysis of the current practices of, and key challenges to, domestic supplier integration in the Chinese automotive industry from the buyer's perspective. The results are based on case interviews with thirty automotive firms from various countries of origin with manufacturing operations in China. The research findings indicate that domestic supplier integration, in terms of join product development and advanced production planning activities between buyers and suppliers, currently takes place to a relatively low extent. The study results also reveal that a lack of critical supplier capabilities as well as buyer-side constraints act as inhibiting factors. Martin Lockstrom, Ph.D., is a research associate and Director of the BMW-SMI Centre for Purchasing and Supply Management at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, China, Joachim Schadel, Dipl. Ing., is a research assistant at the Supply Chain Management Institute of the European Business School in Wiesbaden, Germany, Roger Moser, Dr. Rer. Pol., is an assistant professor at the Supply Chain Management Institute of the European Business School in Wiesbaden, Germany;
and Norma Harrison, Ph.D., is a professor of management at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
How to Determine Rigor When Presenting Grounded Theory Research in the Supply Chain Management Literature
Researchers have found that supply chain management (SCM) studies that employ inductive approaches lack a common structure and often fail to adequately describe their research process and methodology. The purpose of this article is to increase rigor in SCM research by deriving an interpretive structure of presenting grounded theory (GT) studies. The structure presented in this article allows researchers to demonstrate clearly the rigor and validity of their methodology, and to thus increase the confidence of reviewers and fellow SCM researchers in their findings. Lutz Kaufmann, Ph.D., holds the Chair for International Business and Supply Management at WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany;
and Nikola Denk, Ph.D., is a research fellow at the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany.
Low-Cost Country Sourcing Competence: A Conceptual Framework and Empirical Analysis
The world has observed an increase in international trade and a substantial strengthening of emerging markets over the last decades. This trend stresses the importance of global sourcing research in general, and low-cost country sourcing (LCCS) research in particular. The conceptual framework is derived through expert interviews, workshops, and an extensive literature review. The LCCS competence construct is tested using data from more than 300 managers and employees from various functions involved in LCCS projects. The results support the construct's validity as well as its association with LCCS performance. The study's implications and future research paths are discussed. Keiko Kusaba, Dipl. Kauffr., is a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and a doctoral candidate at the European Business School in Hamburg, Germany, Roger Moser, Dr. Rer. Pol., is an assistant professor at the Supply Chain Management Institute of the European Business School in Wiesbaden, Germany;
and Alexandre Medeiros Rodrigues, Ph.D., is a professor of supply chain management at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and a visiting professor of supply chain management at the Supply Management Institute at the European Business School in Hamburg, Germany.