ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Purpose The paper seeks to discuss and develop SCM as a scientific discipline using different theories from non‐logistics areas to explain inter‐organizational phenomena. It also attempts to establish a frame of reference that allows us to mitigate the gap between the current SCM research and practice and the theoretical explanations of how to structure and manage supply chains. Design/methodology/approach The paper introduces three different perspectives that together will contribute to a broader understanding of SCM in practice: an economic perspective; a socio‐economic perspective; and a strategic perspective. The theoretical framework is applied to two important research topics within SCM: third party logistics (TPL); and new product development (NPD). Findings There is no such thing as “a unified theory of SCM”. Depending on the concrete situation, one can choose one theory as the dominant explanatory theory, and then complement it with one or several of the other theoretical perspectives. Research limitations/implications The way the four theories complement one another is explored on a conceptual basis, but further research into this direction may explore more deeply how these alleged complementarities occur in practice, and how managers mould their decisions by these ideas. Practical implications The four theories can provide normative support to important management decisions in supply chains, such as outsourcing, safeguards against opportunism, and alignment of incentives. Originality/value The main contribution is that one cannot rely on one theoretical explanation when analyzing phenomena in SCM. It is neccessary to consider several theories and how they may complement one another in order to provide a more comprehensive view of SCM.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Research paper
Complementary theories to supply chain
Arni Halldorsson
School of Management, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, and University of Reykjavik, Reykjavik, Iceland, and
Herbert Kotzab, Juliana H. Mikkola and Tage Skjøtt-Larsen
Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Purpose The paper seeks to discuss and develop SCM as a scientific discipline using different theories from non-logistics areas to explain inter-
organizational phenomena. It also attempts to establish a frame of reference that allows us to mitigate the gap between the current SCM research and
practice and the theoretical explanations of how to structure and manage supply chains.
Design/methodology/approach The paper introduces three different perspectives that together will contribute to a broader understanding of SCM
in practice: an economic perspective; a socio-economic perspective; and a strategic perspective. The theoretical framework is applied to two important
research topics within SCM: third party logistics (TPL); and new product development (NPD).
Findings There is no such thing as “a unified theory of SCM”. Depending on the concrete situation, one can choose one theory as the dominant
explanatory theory, and then complement it with one or several of the other theoretical perspectives.
Research limitations/implications The way the four theories complement one another is explored on a conceptual basis, but further research into
this direction may explore more deeply how these alleged complementarities occur in practice, and how managers mould their decisions by these ideas.
Practical implications The four theories can provide normative support to important management decisions in supply chains, such as outsourcing,
safeguards against opportunism, and alignment of incentives.
Originality/value The main contribution is that one cannot rely on one theoretical explanation when analyzing phenomena in SCM. It is neccessary
to consider several theories and how they may complement one another in order to provide a more comprehensive view of SCM.
Keywords Supply chain management, Product development
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
1.1 Starting-point of considerations
The practical field of supply chain management (SCM) is
constantly changing, as the competitiveness of international
companies is more and more dependent on their capability to
produce and deliver customized products and services fast
and efficiently all over the world. At the same time, an
increasing percentage of the value creation takes place outside
the boundaries of the individual firm (see, for example, Bruce
et al., 2004). This induces higher complexity and diversity
into management decisions regarding the structure of the
operations, the positioning of activities and processes, the role
and power of the participants, and the most efficient forms of
collaboration between all members in a transformation chain
between production and consumption, which we call a supply
chain. These issues also impact on research in the field of
operations management. In order to understand and to
explain decision-making and practices in a complex network
of collaborating firms (see also Rudberg and Olhager, 2003),
we need to draw on several behavioral and organizational
theories and frameworks in combination. Our approach is
therefore important, as this coupling of organizational
theories with SCM is not often discussed within the
audience of this journal.
Lamming (1996) introduces the theory of SCM as an
extension of logistics, though referring to the extended need
of relationship issues to be considered in the theory of SCM.
However, the notions still remain on a more applied than
theory-building level. Larson and Halldorsson (2004) discuss
four unique perspectives on the relationship between logistics
and SCM. Tan et al. (1999, 2002), as well as Akkermans et al.
(1999), recognize the customer orientation as one important
ingredient as well as the simultaneous integration of
upstream, downstream and internal performance systems.
Also here we can identify implicitly an organization’s
behavioral backbone, which is not explicitly presented. This
also applies to Romano and Vinelli (2001), who try to
distinguish SCM from logistics, but fail to discuss the
theoretical ground for this type of inter-organizational
management. The importance of interactions between
different parties is presented and discussed by Salvador et al.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
12/4 (2007) 284– 296
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 1359-8546]
[DOI 10.1108/13598540710759808]
(2001). However, these interactions were rather accepted as a
given status than critically scrutinized.
We presume the necessity of presenting and discussing
organizational theories for managing supply chains and will
therefore combine in this article four different theories:
1 the principal-agent theory;
2 transaction cost analysis;
3 the network theory; and
4 the resource-based view.
We will show that our choice is based on the assumption that
there might be no “right” theory for the management of
supply chains.
1.2 The research problem and objective of the paper
This paper looks into how theories from other disciplines can
be applied within SCM and ultimately used to develop SCM.
We follow Maaloee’s (1997) classification of theories, later
discussed in the context of logistics by Arlbjoern and
Halldorsson (2002), that explain a problem:
.grand theories (particular science with specific concepts,
e.g. philosophy of science);
.middle-range theories (worked connections between a set
of concepts represented by socio-economic theories
applied in various managerial disciplines); and
.small-scale theories (limited number of concepts
presented as propositions, e.g. the “fit” model of
products and supply chain by Fisher, 1997).
In this paper, we will focus especially on Maaloee’s (1997)
suggestion that middle-range theories can be used to reflect
connections between a set of concepts that represent key
decisions of SCM. Only few contributions demonstrate how
to deal with the phenomena of SCM from a middle-range
theoretical perspective (New, 1997; Mears-Young and
Jackson, 1997; Olavarrieta and Ellinger, 1997; Handfield
and Melnyk, 1998; Logan, 2000; Arlbjoern and Halldorsson,
2002; Ketchen and Guinepero, 2004; Cousins, 2005).
The objective of our article is to develop and discuss a
middle-range theoretical foundation of SCM based on
different notions of socio-economic theories trying to
explain inter-organizational phenomena. We use these
theories because we are interested in answering two questions:
1 How to structure a supply chain when it is perceived as a
collaboration of institutions?
2 What is needed to manage a particular structure?
To gain insights into the institutional set-up of SCM
arrangements, we have established a frame of reference that
allows us to look at SCM from an institutional and socio-
economic perspective. We have chosen transaction cost
analysis (TCA) and the principal-agent theory (PAT) to
answer the first question, as these theories are typically used
to identify the best structure of and within institutions (e.g.
Croom, 2001; Eisenhardt, 1989; Williamson, 1985, 1999;
Coase, 1937). The second question will be answered by
adapting the RBV and the network perspective (NT), because
these theories look at institutions’ use of resources to stay
competitive and the dynamics of inter-organizational
relationships. All the selected approaches are well
recognized in non-logistics disciplines, such as organization
economics (TCA, PAT), marketing and purchasing, and
strategic management (RBV), but so far their explanatory
force has been sparingly applied in SCM (see Croom, 2001;
Logan, 2000; Skjoett-Larsen, 1999). All four theories, each of
which touches upon specific issues related to SCM, have a
much longer history in business management than the
concept of SCM itself.
On this basis, we will show how the developed frame of
reference can be applied to two SCM research domains:
1 third party logistics (TPL); and
2 new product development (NPD).
These two areas have been chosen for several reasons. First,
both are of strategic importance for managing the supply
chain. Second, both are important elements in the SCM
concept. Third, both areas imply the creation of a long-term,
inter-organizational arrangement that not only aims to
promote operative improvements, but also to guide or lead
the strategic direction of companies. Fourth, they represent
two distinctive functional streams in a supply chain that are
gaining increasing importance, both within academia and
1 service; and
2 research and development (R&D).
Although the strategic impact of NPD has always been a part
of SCM, only recently has it received more attention in the
literature, especially under the topics of early supplier
involvement in NPD (see Dowslatshahi, 1998; Wynstra
et al., 2001; Ragatz et al., 1997; Wasti and Liker, 1997), mass
customization (see Duray et al., 2000; Salvador et al., 2002;
Pine, 1993; Mikkola and Skjøtt-Larsen, 2004), and
postponement (see van Hoek, 2001; Pagh and Cooper,
1998; Feitzinger and Lee, 1997; Ernst and Kamrad, 2000).
This is not surprising, as many high-tech industries are facing
increasing challenges imposed by shorter product life cycles,
increasing customization of products, and supply chain
integration. Not only are these firms contemplating
outsourcing their NPD activities, they also have to maintain
sustainable growth and stay profitable. Many firms, such as
Volkswagen, Lego, Sony and Philips, are coping with these
challenges through platform strategies to meet their
customers’ needs while protecting their core competencies.
When product innovation is perceived as the source of
competitive advantage, product architecture design strategies
through modularization and related outsourcing decisions
become a central issue in SCM. Component and NPD
outsourcing decisions are typically made concurrently with
the decomposition of product architectures, from which
recombinability, substitutability, commonality, and
distinctiveness possibilities are determined (Mikkola,
2003b). The success of NPD activities depends on the
amount of transaction costs incurred, resource allocation,
power propensity among the members of the supply chain,
and inter-organizational dependencies shared between all
members in the supply chain.
TPL is also progressively representing multiple facets that
share some important features of SCM relationships. More
importantly, its managerial practice consists of logistics
operations performed by a TPL provider on behalf of their
customers. According to Berglund et al. (1999), TPL
represents a “separate industry” creating value for their
customers, not only in terms of costs but also in terms of
developing the customer’s business processes. These
companies are often themselves organized in a network of
operators with various skills representing multiple locations
(Hertz and Alfredsson, 2003). TPL, or outsourcing of
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
logistics activities, is increasing both in terms of number and
type (see, for example, Larson and Gammelgaard, 2001). In
addition to conducting the make-or-buy decision, the process
of purchasing logistics services, which includes acquiring
resources and competencies, may take years to conduct
(Andersson and Norrman, 2002). Beyond the acquisition of
services and development of the particular solution is the
management of relationships between buyers and logistics
providers, which often takes the form of a close, long-term
relationship in which trust may serve as a coordination
mechanism in addition to the formal contract (Skjoett-
Larsen, 2000). Empirical evidence demonstrates that TPL
arrangements have become an important feature of the
buyer’s attempt to exploit, leverage, and develop logistics
resources and competencies through inter-firm relationships
(see, for example, Halldorsson and Skjoett-Larsen, 2004).
The article is structured as follows. After an introduction,
which includes an argument for the need of this research, we
present our understanding of SCM and theory building. In
the third section, we introduce the four theories that are
developed outside SCM thinking and practice, but which
nevertheless can be useful in structuring and analyzing
management decisions in supply chains. The paper concludes
with a summary of our efforts and a critical outlook on future
2. The theoretical foundations of SCM
The supply chain encompasses organizations and flows of
goods and information between organizations from raw
materials to end-users (Handfield and Nichols, 2002). The
supply chain is a meta-organization built up by independent
organizations that have established inter-organizational
relationships and integrated business processes across the
borderlines of the individual firms. A supply chain can also be
characterized as a borderless organization (e.g. Picot et al.,
2001), a value net (Bovet and Martha, 2000), a virtual supply
chain (Chandrashekar and Schary, 1999), an interactive firm
(Johansen and Riis, 2005), a multi-organization/single-site
coordinated operations network (Rudberg and Olhager,
2003), or an extended enterprise (Davis and Spekman,
2004; Boardman and Clegg, 2001). Management of such an
arrangement refers to inter-organizational relationship
management with the objective of improving the overall
profitability of the activities and/or organizations involved.
The current literature on SCM seems to agree on the nature
of the phenomena (e.g. Persson, 1997).
Although SCM has existed for almost 25 years, it still lacks
a socio-economic theoretical basis that may be used to explain
and understand this particular form of inter-organizational
arrangement. Initially, two consultants from Booz, Allen and
Hamilton (Oliver and Webber, 1982) introduced the SCM
concept. Several authors have traced the theoretical
foundations of SCM. Thus, Svensson (2002) found that the
theoretical foundation of SCM and Alderson’s functionalist
theory (Alderson, 1957) have many similarities. Mentzer et al.
(2004) presented a unified theory of logistics based upon
logistics capabilities as a source of competitive advantage.
Recently, academics have presented valuable contributions,
enhancing our understanding of the concept of inter-
organizational management of different flows of products
and/or information (e.g. Ballou et al., 2000; Heikkila¨, 2002;
Monczka and Morgan, 1997; Srivastava et al., 1999; Frazier,
1999; New and Westbrook, 2004). The majority of
contributions focus on definitions and concepts from a
functional point of view (e.g. logistics, operations, marketing,
and purchasing), providing pragmatic recommendations on
how to improve a firm’s performance and implementation of
postponement by supply chain reconfiguration. Prominent
examples of such approaches can be found in Mentzer et al.
(2001), Cooper et al. (1997), Cigolini et al. (2004), Lambert
et al. (2005) and Croxton et al. (2001). Current frameworks
of SCM present solutions on how to design and manage
particular relationships between various stages in a chain, but
they do not address the economic, strategic, and socio-
economic theoretical rationales behind them (e.g. Min and
Mentzer, 2004; Chen and Paulraj, 2004a, b).
The next section discusses SCM from the four chosen
inter-organizational theories, and makes a cross-comparison
based on specific characteristics of the theories.
3. Developing a middle-range theoretical base for
3.1 Fundamental issues of SCM
The literature supports the view that the integration of key
business processes within and across companies that add
value for customers and other stakeholders can be called
SCM (see Cooper et al., 1997; Bechtel and Jayaram, 1997).
Definitions of SCM originate from the operations
management literature referring to issues such as NPD,
customization and distribution of goods, including the
balancing of demand needs and capacity requirements in
the transformation of raw materials into final products
delivered to customers (e.g. Lee, 1993). Within the logistics
discipline, Cooper and Ellram (1990, p. 2) define SCM as an
“integrative philosophy to manage the total flow of a
distribution channel from supplier to the ultimate user”.
Both Harland (1996) and Christopher (1998) reach another
conclusion. Instead of managing flows, SCM is seen as the
management of a network. Harland (1996, p. 64) defines
SCM as “the management of a network of interconnected
businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and
service packages required by end customers”. Rather than
looking at SCM as the management of a vertical pipeline of
management of a complex network of organizations involved
in exchange processes. Christopher (1998) argues that the
word “chain” should be replaced by “network”, since the total
system normally includes multiple suppliers and customers as
well as multiple suppliers to suppliers and customers’
customers. Some scholars (e.g. Christopher, 1998; Heikkila¨,
2002) also suggest that “supply chain management” should
really be termed “demand chain management” to reflect the
fact that the chain is driven by the marketplace to satisfy the
needs of the end-users. Another argument is that within
marketing SCM is presented as one of the core business
processes, which includes purchasing and physical
distribution activities (e.g. Srivastava et al., 1999).
However, all attempts refer to one specific “setting”, which
is the management of relations of independent organizations
in a particular structure. Consequently, we understand such
management as the coordination and interaction of decision
makers (i.e. human beings) from economic institutions within
a system based on division of labor (Go¨bel, 2002). In that
sense, we develop a middle-range theoretical frame of
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
reference to explain SCM based on TCA, the PAT, the RBV
and the NT. We do not claim that these theories are the only
ones that can be used to establish a theoretical framework of
SCM. But since we understand supply chains as
interconnected socio-economic institutions, we argue that
these theories are most useful to explain both structure and
management issues of supply chains. Other theories and
frameworks that focus on other aspects of SCM include
relational contracting theory and resource dependency theory
from the organizational sciences (e.g. MacNeil, 1980; Pfeffer
and Salancik, 1978), the political economy frameworks (e.g.
Stern and Reve, 1980), the dynamic capabilities framework
(Teece et al., 1997; Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000), and the
evolutionary theory of economic change (Nelson and Winter,
1982). These supplementary aspects include power regimes
in supply chain relations (Cox et al., 2001), dynamic design,
redesign of the firm’s chain of capabilities (Fine, 2000), and
the importance of path dependence and organizational
routines (Nelson and Winter, 1982). However, it is beyond
the scope of the current paper to discuss these supplementary
3.2 The logic of the selected set of inter-organizational
3.2.1 SCM mitigating agency problems the principal-agent
theory (PAT)
Based on the separation of ownership and control of
economic activities between the agent and the principal,
various agency problems may arise, such as asymmetric
information between the principal and the agent, conflicting
objectives, differences in risk aversion, outcome uncertainty,
behavior based on self-interest, and bounded rationality. The
contract between the principal and the agent governs the
relationship between the two parties, and the aim of the
theory is to design a contract that can mitigate potential
agency problems. The “most efficient contract” includes the
right mix of behavioral and outcome-based incentives to
motivate the agent to act in the interests of the principal
(Eisenhardt, 1989; Logan, 2000).
The alignment of incentives is an important issue in SCM.
Misalignment often stems from hidden actions or hidden
information. However, by creating contracts with supply
chain partners that balance rewards and penalties,
misalignment can be mitigated (Narayanan and Raman,
2004; Baiman and Rajan, 2002).
3.2.2 SCM as coordination of transferred rights of disposals
transaction cost analysis (TCA)
TCA offers a normative economic approach to determine the
firm’s boundaries and can be used to present efficiency as a
motive for entering inter-organizational arrangements
(Williamson, 1975, 1985, 1996). A company may reduce its
total transaction costs (ex ante and ex post costs of contact,
contract, and control) by cooperating with external partners.
The key question is: why do firms exist? In the context of
SCM, this question is addressed as: which activities should be
performed within the boundary of each firm, and which
activities should be outsourced? SCM relationships are
represented by the hybrid mode of governance between
markets and hierarchies. Asset specificity (limited value in an
alternative application of, for example, physical, site, human,
and dedicated assets) is the most influential attribute of the
transaction (Rindfleisch and Heide, 1997). Behavioral
assumptions of bounded rationality and the risk of being
subject to opportunistic behavior from a partner also
influence the transaction costs. Bounded rationality may
result from insufficient information, limits in management
perception or limited capacity for information processing.
Mechanisms for mitigating the risk of opportunism include
safeguards and credible commitments such as long-term
contracts, penalty clauses if a partner fails to fulfill the
contract, equity sharing, and joint investments. According to
Williamson (1996), trust between the parties is based on
“calculated risk” and not on personal trust between
TCA has often been used in make-or-buy decisions in
supply chains. Examples are outsourcing of logistics activities
(Maltz, 1993; Andersson, 1997; Halldorsson, 2002), buyer-
supplier relationships (Mikkola, 2003b; Bensaou, 1999;
Stuart and McCutcheon, 1996), and restructuring of supply
instrument to decide whether a transaction should be
performed in the marketplace or in-house.
3.2.3 SCM as reciprocated interactions between institutions
the network perspective (NT)
The performance of a firm depends not only on how
efficiently it cooperates with its direct partners, but also on
how well these partners cooperate with their own business
partners. NT can be used to provide a basis for the
conceptual analysis of reciprocity (Oliver, 1990) in
cooperative relationships. Here, the firm’s continuous
interaction with other players becomes an important factor
in the development of new resources (Haakansson and Ford,
2002). Relationships combine the resources of two
organizations to achieve more advantages than through
individual efforts. Such a combination can be viewed as a
quasi-organization (Haakansson and Snehota, 1995;
Haakansson, 1987). The value of a resource is based on its
combination with other resources, which is why inter-
organizational ties may become more important than
possessing resources per se. Thus, the resource structure
determines the structure of the supply chain and becomes its
motivating force. The network theory (NT) contributes
profoundly to an understanding of the dynamics of inter-
organizational relations by emphasizing the importance of
“personal chemistry” between the parties, the build-up of
trust through positive long-term cooperative relations and the
mutual adaptation of routines and systems through exchange
processes. Through direct communication, the relationships
convey a sense of uniqueness, ultimately resulting in supply
chains as customization to meet individual customer
requirements. The parties gradually build up mutual trust
through the social exchange processes. A network does not
seek an optimal equilibrium, but is in a constant state of
movement and change. Links between firms in a network
develop through two separate, but closely linked, types of
interaction: exchange processes (information, goods and
services, and social processes) and adaptation processes
(personal, technical, legal, logistics, and administrative
elements) (Johanson and Mattsson, 1987).
NT is descriptive in nature and has primarily been applied
in SCM to map activities, actors, and resources in a supply
chain. The focus has been on developing long-term, trust-
based relationships between the supply chain members.
Examples of issues include buyer-supplier relationships
(Gadde and Haakansson, 2001), third party logistics
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
(Halldorsson, 2002), and management roles in supply
networks (Harland and Knight, 2001).
3.2.4 SCM as coordination of relational assets the resource-
based view (RBV)
Only a few articles have applied the resource-based view
(RBV) to the field in focus in order to obtain the sources of
competitive advantage through SCM (Lewis, 2000; Pandza
et al., 2003; Rungtusanatham et al., 2003; Carr and Pearson,
2002) or to analyze the structure of chains and industrial
clusters (Miller and Ross, 2003; de Olivera Wilk and
Fensterseifer, 2003).
The RBV deals with competitive advantages related to the
firm’s possession of heterogeneous resources (financial,
physical, human, technological, organizational, and
reputational) and capabilities (combination of two or more
resources) (Grant, 1991; Penrose, 1959; Prahalad and
Hamel, 1990). These resources and capabilities constitute
the core competence of the particular firm and serve
ultimately as its source of competitive advantage. The static
stream of research focuses on attributes that contribute to the
heterogeneity of resources and capabilities. Four barriers may
prevent competitors from imitating a firm’s resources and
1 durability;
2 transparency;
3 transferability; and
4 replicability (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990).
These attributes may also apply to inter-organizational
arrangements (Jap, 2001). The more dynamic aspects of the
RBV consider a firm’s core competence to be its ability to
react quickly to situational changes and build further
competencies (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990) or dynamic
capabilities (Eisenhardt and Martin, 2000). Hence, a firm’s
competitiveness is associated with the configuration of
resources and capabilities as the markets evolve. However,
inter-organizational relationships may also facilitate and
advance the learning processes of individual firms. As such,
relationships are not only output-oriented but also learning-
oriented. Efficiency may not only be explained in terms of
productivity or operational measures, but also in terms of the
opportunity to access another firm’s core competencies
through cooperative arrangements as an alternative to
building such competencies in-house (Haakansson et al.,
The RBV is an implicit assumption in many supply chain
decisions. Often, outsourcing decisions are based on the idea
of focusing on core competencies and outsourcing
complementary competencies to external partners. TPL and
outsourcing of standard components and processes to
subcontractors are examples. However, outsourcing of
design, NPD, or software development is often a way to
gain access to other supply members’ core competencies
through inter-organizational collaboration.
Table I summarizes and compares the specific
characteristics of the four selected theories, which should
be viewed as complementary and not mutually exclusive.
The PAT stresses issues of inter-firm contracting and
ultimately the notion of supply chain transparency. The
TCA considers hybrids such as integrated supply chains as
the result of a market failure, whereas the NT and the RBV
see the supply chains as a means to access resources and
competencies outside the focal firm (Skjoett-Larsen,
1999). Easton and Araujo (1993) assert that the RBV
poses a “narrow conceptualization of the firm as a business
entity” indicating that this stream of research may benefit
from both the network approach (NT) and the vision of
In the following sections, we demonstrate how the four
theories can contribute to answering our two questions
adapted to two selected fields of application within SCM:
1 third party logistics (TPL); and
2 new product development (NPD).
4. The theoretical framework applied to
third-party logistics (TPL)
Within the realm of SCM, the case of TPL illustrates the
efficient governance structure for the “make-or-buy” decision
depending on the characteristics of the transactions. Table II
provides an overview of how the four theories can be applied
to TPL. The four theoretical approaches increase our
understanding of TPL by offering a complementary view of
why TPL relationships exist (TCA), just as they guide inter-
firm interactions based on contracts (PAT) into long-term
relationships (NT) supporting a firm’s core competence
4.1 The principal-agent theory and TPL
Balancing the need of the shipper and the capability of the
TPL provider is a well-known managerial issue (e.g. Hertz
and Alfredsson, 2003) that explicitly implies the risk of
agency problems. The PAT suggests an “inter-firm
contracting perspective” on TPL, focusing on the design
of an efficient contract between the buyer and seller of
logistics services. The idea is to develop the most efficient
combination of outcome and behavioral incentives in the
contract between the shipper and the TPL provider. The
extent to which the TPL provider’s performance can be
measured and controlled has a great effect on whether the
provider is paid by actual performance (e.g. number of
orders picked, packed, and shipped to the customers) or
according to behavioral outcomes (e.g. salaries, hours, and/
or miles). Not all aspects can be covered ex ante in the
contract. Therefore, the issue of contracting should be a
revisiting issue in TPL relationships.
4.2 Transaction cost analysis and TPL
By reducing the supplier base of transport firms and entering
into close and long-term cooperation with a few key
operators, a firm may reduce the transaction costs related to
collecting information about numerous suppliers, the costs of
negotiating and writing a contract, and the enforcement costs
after the negotiation of a contract. However, close
cooperation also involves the risk of opportunistic behavior.
Therefore, it might be necessary to incorporate “safeguards”
and “credible commitments” into TPL agreements, such as
penalty clauses related to poor delivery performance, joint
investments in dedicated warehouses or equipment, joint
training programs, and exchange of employees between the
4.3 The network perspective and TPL
To TPL, the NT presents openness and trust between the
parties as a condition for gaining the best possible results
from cooperation. Over time, mutual adjustments improve
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
administrative and logistical systems, making them more
efficient. Examples of adjustment processes might be an
electronic data interchange (EDI) connection between the
client and the TPL operator or the implementation of a
quality control system. By entering into close cooperation
with TPL providers who possess complementary
competencies, the individual firm is able to utilize
resources and skills controlled by other players. In close
and long-term cooperation, the parties are able to establish
mutual and strong relations of trust, which may result in the
disappearance of cost-consuming, contractual safeguards.
Thus, firms with efficient, cooperative arrangements might
gain competitive advantage over firms that have to bear
transaction costs to prevent their transport firms from acting
in an opportunistic way.
4.4 The resource-based view and TPL
Similar to TCA, the RBV applies a stringent perception to the
firm’s boundaries. Resources and capabilities can only be
acquired from the market to a limited degree. Under certain
circumstances, firms in the supply chain interact closely on a
long-term basis exchanging confidential information. Hence,
TPL is both a means of improving the logistics services of the
TPL buyer and a way to achieve a mutual transfer of logistics
experience. A long-term mutual commitment and
adjustments as well as a customized rather than
standardized solution contribute to the uniqueness and
heterogeneity of logistics resources and capabilities. Besides
the static dimensions of heterogeneity (inimitable attributes of
resources and capabilities), RBV can help us to understand as
to how to use TPL to shortcut an upcoming need for
Table I Comparison of the principal-agent theory, transaction cost analysis, the network perspective, and the resource-based view
Characteristics PAT TCA RBV NT
Bounded rationality
Asymmetric information
Goal conflicts
Bounded rationality
Bounded rationality
Bounded rationality
Contract design: what is the most
efficient contract?
Efficient governance structure: why
do firms exist?
Internal competence development:
why do firms differ?
Dyadic relationships
embedded in networks
Time dimension Static Static Static/dynamic Dynamic
Primary focus of
Contracts and incentives Transaction attributes (e.g. asset
Resource attributes Inter-firm relations
Function of
Efficient division of labor
Market failures Access to complementary resources Access to heterogeneous
Primary domain
of interest
Alignment of incentives in dyads Exchange and transaction Production and firm resources/
Exchange and adaptation
Source: Adapted from Skjoett-Larsen (1999, p. 46) and Madhok (2002, p. 540)
Table II The theoretical framework applied to third-party logistics
Characteristics PAT TCA RBV NT
Asymmetric information
between shipper and TPL
Goal conflicts
Calculative trust
Safeguards, specific
investments or long-
term contracts
Personal trust
Joint learning
Transfer of knowledge
Personal trust
Win-win situation
Problem orientation Performance measurement
ABC costing, open-book,
Which activities should
be outsourced to TPL
Development of competencies
internally and between shipper
and TPL provider
Development of
Communication and
Time dimension Static Static Dynamic Dynamic
Unit of analysis Formal TPL contract TPL services
Transaction costs
Logistics performance
Resources and capabilities
shared by shipper and TPL
Relations between
shipper and TPL
Nature of relations Adversarial relations
Contract influences both the
number and nature of
outsourced activities
Arm’s-length relations
Regular tenders to test
the TPL market
Focus on cost-efficiency
Short-term contracts
Complementary resources
Creating new competencies
through TPL relations
Voice relations
Access to resources
possessed by TPL firms
Evergreen TPL contract
Primary domain of
Alignment of behavioral and
outcome-based contracts
Investment in specific
assets (warehouses, IT,
Minimizing transaction
Development of new
competencies (e.g. batch-
monitored shipments, merge-
in-transit, track-and-trace)
Mutual adaptation of IT
systems, processes,
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
competence configuration (building and development)
(Halldorsson and Skjoett-Larsen, 2004). The focal point of
discussion is the ability of TPL to create venues through
learning, either jointly or from each another, which may
support the building of a core competence. This approach is
similar to the view of TPL as a means to configure logistics
competencies (Halldorsson, 2002).
5. The theoretical framework applied to new
product development (NPD)
Within the realm of SCM, we focus our discussion on
modularization of product architecture design strategies (see
Mikkola, 2003a, b; Momme et al., 2000) and how supplier-
buyer relationships impact such NPD decisions (see Wasti
and Liker, 1997; Dyer et al., 1998; Hsuan, 1999). The four
theoretical approaches provide us with additional insights
connecting NPD to SCM, as shown in Table III.
5.1 The principal-agent theory and NPD
Firms’ NPD activities are often proprietary in nature, which
makes firms reluctant to involve suppliers in their activities.
Product architecture designs suggest which NPD tasks might
be performed by suppliers and how. Hence, specific assets
shared with the suppliers have to be determined. Specialized
assets (in contrast to general assets) often have a narrow range
of potential applications and are difficult to deploy (Christy
and Grout, 1994). Co-specialized investments, on the other
hand, increase the principal and agent’s interdependence and
serve as an economic rationale for cooperative, long-term
relationships. Furthermore, shared standards reduce
specificity and provide a form of embedded control
(Sanchez and Mahoney, 1996), reducing search,
monitoring, and enforcement costs, which allows firms to
make efficient exchanges with multiple partners. Such a cost
reduction will subsequently lessen a firm’s incentive to
integrate activities internally and free it to pursue the
advantage of flexibility when there are high levels of input
and demand heterogeneity (Mikkola, 2003c).
5.2 Transaction cost analysis and NPD
In a TCA perspective, it is argued that modularization
reduces transaction costs. Modular systems lower the
transaction costs of information about the parts available
(for a firm) and imply economies of scale in assembling the
package (for a consumer) (Langlois and Robertson, 1992).
Product architectures made up entirely of standard
component would favor market governance. One incentive
to devise modular product architectures is to have
components with standardized interfaces to enable
competition between suppliers on technology innovation. To
reduce transaction costs, firms may outsource product
development and manufacturing activities of certain
components to qualified suppliers. Firms naturally try to
find the optimal trade-offs between switching costs and
performance between partners, which will depend on the
length of relationships shared between the buyer and its
5.3 The network perspective and NPD
In many industries, such as the PC and bicycle industries,
there is a large variety of interchangeable components readily
available. Interchangeability of components in modular
systems encourages vertical specialization, leading to the
Table III The theoretical framework applied to new product development
Characteristics PAT TCA RBV NT
Supplier and buyer may have
conflicting interests
Calculative trust
Safeguards by product
architecture control
Trust of key suppliers for co-
development of new components
Personal trust and information
Win-win situation
How does product architecture
control impact the degree of
supplier involvement in NPD?
How many NPD tasks can be
outsourced to suppliers?
How are resources related to
product architecture designs
How do modular product
architectures enhance competition
and/or collaboration among the
actors of the network?
Time dimension Normally an
ex ante
Normally contracts are not
drawn up until the product
architecture specifications are
Short-term contracts for
standard components
Long-term contracts for
development of new
New capabilities are created by
combining and reusing existing
Short-term relationships for
standard components
Long-term relationships for co-
Unit of analysis Formal contracts for
development of new
Number of components
Degree of modularization
Number of firms
Heterogeneity of inputs required to
produce a product architecture
Number of components
Degree of modularization
Relationship between the buyer
and its suppliers
Nature of
Adversarial relationships
Contract influences both the
number and type of outsourced
Arm’s-length relationship for
standard components
Strategic partnerships for co-
development of components
Complementary resources
Creating new competencies by
Strategic relationships for co-
development of components
Primary domain
of interest
Alignment of behavioral and
outcome-based contracts
Investment in specific assets
(tooling, patents, technology
Development of new competencies
(modular product architecture,
component design, outsourcing)
Mutual adaptation and sharing of
Personal contacts
Development of trust
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
creation of networks. One force speaking for vertical
specialization is the dissimilarity among production stages.
When resources are recombined in new ways, a number of
interfaces with other resources need to be considered.
Components and systems have to be designed so they are
easy to assemble and transport. Handling this complexity has
become increasingly important due to the ongoing changes of
activity structures in industries. Furthermore, an increasing
reliance on outsourcing leads to substantial interdependencies
between the activities of different firms. One way to solve this
complexity is through modularization and product platform
designs (Mikkola, 2003c).
5.4 The resource-based view and NPD
Modularity management of product architectures can be
viewed as the management of a firm’s resources. It takes time
and money to develop the capabilities associated with product
architecture designs, and the subsequent market success (or
failure) of the firm is dependent on the architecture’s
configuration (i.e. heterogeneity of resources and causal
ambiguity), the extent of certain technologies and
components’ (i.e. resources and assets) inimitability by
competitors, and the management of resources that must be
shared with suppliers, especially when complementary assets
are involved (Teece, 1986).
6. Frame of reference for SCM
Since supply chain thinking emerged, researchers from
different disciplines have been in search of a theoretical
foundation for the phenomenon. Chen and Paulraj (2004a,
b), Croom et al. (2000), Svensson (2002), Mentzer et al.
(2004), and Ganeshan et al. (1998) have pointed to different
bodies of literature and management problems relating to
supply chain management (SCM). Recently, Cigolini et al.
(2004) presented SCM as resulting from a specific set of
management and supporting tools that may be formed to
achieve successful management of different supply chains. But
none of these authors have presented a theoretical analysis of
the phenomenon SCM.
As we interpret SCM as a network of socio-economic
institutions, we have chosen a set of relevant theories that can
be applied to the management and structuring of specific
SCM arrangements (see Figure 1). The upper part of the
figure includes the four different theories that we have
combined to answer our two research questions:
1 How to structure a supply chain of collaborating
2 How to manage a particular structure?
The lower part of the figure illustrates the managerial arena of
SCM, including the key elements (Lambert et al., 1998), the
prerequisites, and the outcome.
One of the contributions of the paper is the attempt to
mitigate the gap between the current SCM research and
practice and the theoretical explanations of how to structure
and manage supply chains. The lower part of Figure 1
illustrates the characteristics often related to SCM. The left
part lists a number of preconditions, which can be found in
most theoretical and empirical studies of inter-organizational
relationships, such as trust, long-term collaboration, mutual
commitments, and willingness to share costs and benefits.
The middle section shows the interactions between structure,
processes, and management, which constitute the core of the
SCM concept. The right side shows the expected effect on
SCM performance measured in terms of higher cost efficiency
internally or in the interfaces between the SCM participants,
better customer service, and higher flexibility and
responsiveness towards changes in the customers’ needs and
expectations. The upper part of Figure 1 shows the “missing
link” – a theoretical framework to analyze and explain the
phenomena in the management arena of SCM.
7. Managerial implications
In this paper, we have proposed four different theories to be
applied when making decisions on the structure and the
management of supply chains:
1 transaction cost analysis (TCA);
2 the principal-agent theory (PAT);
3 the network theory (NT); and
4 the resource-based view (RBV).
Both TCA and the PAT have their roots in neo-classical
economic theory and are especially valuable when it comes to
the issue of how to structure the supply chains. Important
management decisions include, for example:
1 Which activities should the firm keep in-house, and which
activities should preferably be outsourced to external
partners in the supply chain?
2 What should be the roles, positions, and responsibilities of
the participants in the supply chain?
3 How can the firm safeguard against the risk of
opportunism from the other participants in the supply
4 How should the incentives be aligned internally and
between the participants in order to further the outcomes
of the supply chain?
However, TCA and the PAT have limitations due to the
embedded assumptions about human behavior and the static
view of the firm’s boundaries. Therefore, it is necessary to
apply complementary theories, which can explain the
dynamics in governance structures and inter-organizational
relationships. Here, we have examined such challenges with
the following two complementary theories: the NT and the
RBV. The NT is basically a descriptive theory that examines
how interacting companies in a supply network adapt their
processes and systems to each other by exchange processes,
and how they can develop trust and confidence in inter-
organizational relationships over time. Trust is an important
precondition in SCM. This is especially true in NPD, which
often involves early supplier involvement in order to speed up
time-to-market or to gain access to the latest technology.
Trust can also serve as a governance mechanism in hybrid
organizations, in line with price in the market and authority in
the hierarchy (Bradach and Eccles, 1989).
The RBV complements TCA by considering the resources,
capabilities, and competencies both inside the individual firm
and in the linkages between the firms in a supply chain. The
resources and capabilities of the firms play an important role
in boundary decisions, as discussed by Barney (1999). Where
TCA explains the boundary of the firm by characteristics
related to the transactions (e.g. asset specificity and
uncertainty), the RBV looks at the capabilities of the firm
and the capabilities of potential partners in the supply chains
when deciding which activities should be outsourced and
which should be kept in-house. Combs and Ketchen (1999),
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
however, warns that firms should be careful with the selection
of theory used to explain inter-firm cooperation, as they
sometimes come up with contradictory explanations. Their
empirical findings showed that firms do not simply respond to
the logic of only RBV or TCA, but rather react to
contingencies identified by both. Barney (1999), for
example, argues that the normative implications of TCA
and RBV, respectively may differ; despite the circumstances of
high asset specificity and risk of opportunistic behavior, in
which TCA would recommend a “in-house” solution, while
RBV would prescribe circumstances where outsourcing would
be necessary. Cousins (2005) discusses this theoretical
intersection further and suggests that supply and
relationships modes must align with strategies of the firm.
8. Research implications
The research implication of this eclectic approach to SCM is
that we cannot rely on one theoretical explanation (e.g. TCA
or the RBV) when analyzing phenomena in SCM. We have to
consider several theories and how they may complement each
other in order to provide a more comprehensive view of SCM.
Depending on the concrete situation, we can choose one
theory as the dominant explanatory theory, and then
complement with one or several of the other theoretical
perspectives. The four theories selected in this paper are
supported by empirical evidence provided mainly by the
literature, both in general and also to some extent within the
realm of SCM. The way the four theories complement each
other is explored on a conceptual basis, but further research
into this direction may explore more deeply how these alleged
complementarities occur in practice, and how managers
mould their decisions by these ideas. In so doing, the
theoretical development of SCM may reach beyond a mere
battle of intellectual territories urging managers to operate in
a wider, or almost infinite, domain. The main message in this
paper is therefore that there is no such thing as “a unified
theory of SCM”.
9. Conclusions
The starting-point of our considerations focused on two the
attempt of explaining two research questions:
1 How to structure a supply chain?
2 How to manage a particular structure?
These questions are important, as many decision makers in
business practice as well as in academia address these issues
more often than to think of new possible definitions on the
phenomena of inter-organizational management of
transformation flows between production and consumption.
We have presented an argument that builds on organization
theories in order to answer our questions, and this can be seen
as an attempt to diminish the gap between current SCM
research and practice and existing theoretical descriptive and
prescriptive explanations.
We have therefore developed a general framework where we
combine the managerial SCM arena with four different
organization theories in order to explain our two research
questions, and we use our framework for looking at two
different problem areas within SCM:
1 third-party logistics; and
2 new product development.
Figure 1 A middle-range theoretical frame of reference for SCM
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
We find that we cannot rely on one unified theory to explain
inter-firm governance structure and management decisions in
a supply chain, but have to apply complementary theories.
Furthermore, we can show that building a unified theory of
SCM might be difficult, as many problems can occur whose
solution might depend on different theoretical backgrounds.
In that sense we have shown how our theoretical choice has
shown different results depending on the observation
We suggest that further empirical and theoretical research is
needed in order to find out the contingencies for choosing a
specific combination of theories that adequate explains
management decisions related to configuring and managing
supply chains.
Akkermans, H., Bogerd, P. and Vos, B. (1999), “Virtuous and
vicious cycles on the road towards international supply
chain management”, International Journal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 19 Nos 5/6, pp. 565-82.
Alderson, W. (1957), Marketing Behavior and Executive Action:
A Functionalist Approach to Marketing Theory,Irwin,
Homewood, IL.
Andersson, D. (1997), “Third party logistics – outsourcing
logistics in partnerships”, Dissertation No. 34, Linko¨ping
Studies in Management and Economics, Linko¨ping
University, Linko¨ping.
Andersson, D. and Norrman, A. (2002), “Procurement of
logistics services – a minute’s work or a multi-year
project?”, European Journal of Purchasing and Supply
Management, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 3-14.
Arlbjoern, J.S. and Halldo
´rsson, A
´. (2002), “Logistics
knowledge creation: reflections on content, processes and
context”, International Journal of Physical Distribution
& Logistics Management, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 22-40.
Baiman, S. and Rajan, M.V. (2002), “Incentive issues in
inter-firm relationships”, Accounting, Organizations and
Society, Vol. 27, pp. 213-38.
Ballou, R.H., Gilbert, S.M. and Mukherjee, A. (2000), “New
managerial challenges from supply chain opportunities”,
Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 29, pp. 7-18.
Barney, J.B. (1999), “How a firm’s capabilities affect
boundary decisions”, Sloan Management Review, Spring,
pp. 137-45.
management: a strategic perspective”, International Journal
of Logistics Management, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 15-34.
Bensaou, M. (1999), “Portfolios of buyer-supplier
relationships”, Sloan Management Review, Vol. 40 No. 4,
pp. 35-44.
Berglund, M., van Laarhoven, P., Sharman, G. and Wandel, S.
(1999), “Third-party logistics: is there a future?”,
International Jour nal of Logistics Management,Vol.10
No. 1, pp. 59-70.
Boardman, J.T. and Clegg, B.T. (2001), “Structured
engagement in the extended enterprise”, International
Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 21
Nos 5/6, pp. 795-811.
Bovet, D. and Martha, J. (2000), Value Nets – Breaking the
Supply Chain to Unlock Hidden Profits, Wiley, New York,
Bradach, J.L. and Eccles, R.G. (1989), “Price, authority, and
trust: from ideal types to plural forms”, Annual Review of
Sociology, Vol. 15, pp. 97-118.
Bruce, M., Daly, L. and Towers, N. (2004), “Lean or agile:
a solution for supply chain management in the textiles and
clothing industr y?”, Inter national Jour nal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 24 Nos 1/2, pp. 151-70.
Carr, A.S. and Pearson, J.N. (2002), “The impact of
purchasing and supplier involvement on strategic
purchasing and its impact on a firm’s performance”,
International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 22 Nos 9/10, pp. 1032-53.
Chandrashekar, A. and Schary, P.B. (1999), “Toward the
virtual supply chain”, International Journal of Logistics
Management, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 27-40.
Chen, I. and Paulraj, A. (2004a), “Understanding supply
chain management: critical research and a theoretical
framework”, International Journal of Production Research,
Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 131-63.
Chen, I. and Paulraj, A. (2004b), “Towards a theory of supply
chain management: the constructs and measurements”,
Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 22, pp. 119-50.
Christopher, M. (1998), Logistics and Supply Chain
Management – Strategies for Reducing Cost and Improving
Service, Financial Times Pitman Publishing, London.
Christy, D.P. and Grout, J.R. (1994), “Safeguarding supply
chain relationships”, International Jour nal of Production
Economics, Vol. 36, pp. 233-42.
Cigolini, R., Cozzi, M. and Merona, M. (2004), “A new
framework for supply chain management: conceptual mode
and empirical test”, International Jour nal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 7-41.
Coase, R.H. (1937), “The nature of the firm”, Economica,
Vol. 4, pp. 386-405.
Combs, J.G. and Ketchen, D.J. (1999), “Explaining interfirm
cooperation and performance: toward a reconciliation of
predictions from the resource-based view and
organizational economics”, Strategic Management Journal,
Vol. 20, pp. 876-88.
Cooper, M.C. and Ellram, L.M. (1990), “Supply chain
management, partnerships, and the shipper-third party
relationship”, International Journal of Logistics Management,
Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 1-10.
Cooper, M., Douglas, L. and Pagh, J.D. (1997), “Supply
chain management: more than a new name for logistics”,
International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 8 No. 1,
pp. 1-14.
Cousins, P.D. (2005), “The alignment of appropriate firm
and supply strategies for competitive advantage”,
International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 403-28.
Cox, A., Sanderson, J. and Watson, G. (2001), “Supply
chains and power regimes: toward an analytic framework
for managing extended networks of buyer and supplier
relationships”, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 37
No. 2, pp. 28-35.
Croom, S. (2001), “Restructuring supply chains through
information channel innovation”, International Journal of
Operations & Production Management, Vol. 21 No. 4,
pp. 504-15.
Croom, S., Romano, P. and Giannakis, M. (2000), “Supply
chain management: an analytical framework for critical
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
literature review”, European Journal of Purchasing and
Supply Management, Vol. 6 No. 6, pp. 67-83.
“The supply chain management process”, International
Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 13-36.
Davis, E.W. and Spekman, R.E. (2004), The Extended
Enterprise: Gaining Competitive Advantage through
Collaborative Supply Chains, FT Prentice-Hall, Englewood
Cliffs, NJ.
de Oliveira Wilk, E. and Fensterseifer, J. (2003), “Use of
resource-based view in industrial cluster strategic analysis”,
International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 23 No. 9, pp. 995-1009.
Dowslatshahi, S. (1998), “Implementing early supplier
involvement: a conceptual framework”, International
Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 18
No. 2, pp. 143-67.
Duray, R., Ward, P.T., Milligan, G.W. and Berry, W.L.
(2000), “Approaches to mass customization: configurations
and empirical validation”, Journal of Operations
Management, Vol. 18, pp. 605-25.
Dyer, J.H., Cho, D.S. and Chu, W. (1998), “Strategic
supplier segmentation: the next ‘best practice’ in supply
chain management”, California Management Review, Vol. 40
No. 2, pp. 57-77.
Easton, G. and Araujo, L. (1993), “A resource based view of
industrial networks”, Proceedings of the 9th IMP (Industrial
Marketing and Purchasing) Conference, Bath, 23-25
Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989), “Agency theory: an assessment and
review”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 14 No. 1,
pp. 57-74.
capabilities: what are they?”, Strategic Management
Journal, Vol. 21 Nos 10/11, pp. 1105-21.
Ernst, R. and Kamrad, B. (2000), “Evaluation of supply chain
structures through modularisation and postponement”,
European Journal of Operational Research,Vol.124,
pp. 495-510.
Feitzinger, E. and Lee, H.L. (1997), “Mass customization at
Hewlett-Packard: the power of postponement”, Harvard
Business Review, January/February, pp. 116-21.
Fine, C.H. (2000), “Clockspeed-based strategies for supply
chain design”, Production and Operations Management, Vol. 9
No. 3, pp. 213-21.
Fisher, M.L. (1997), “What is the right supply chain for your
products?”, Harvard Business Review, March, pp. 105-16.
Frazier, G. (1999), “Organizing and managing channels of
distribution”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,
Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 226-40.
Gadde, L.E. and Haakansson, H. (2001), Supply Network
Strategies, IMP Group/Wiley, Chichester.
Ganeshan, R., Jack, E., Magazine, M. and Stephens, P.
(1998), “A taxonomic review of supply chain management
research”, in Tayur, S., Ganeshan, R. and
Magazine, M. (Eds), Quantitative Models for Supply Chain
Management, Kluwer, Boston, MA, pp. 879-83.
Go¨bel, E. (2002), Neue Institutioneno
¨konomik: Konzeption und
betriebswirtschaftliche Anwendungen, UTB, Stuttgart.
Grant, R.M. (1991), “The resource-based theory of
competitive advantage: implications for strategy
formulation”, California Management Review,Vol.33
No. 33, pp. 114-35.
Haakansson, H. (1987), Industrial Technological Development:
A Network Approach, Croom Helm, London.
Haakansson, H. and Ford, D. (2002), “How companies
interact in business networks?”, Journal of Business Research,
Vol. 55, pp. 133-9.
Haakansson, H. and Snehota, I. (1995), Developing
Relationships in Business Networks, Routledge, London.
Haakansson, H., Havila, V. and Pedersen, A.C. (1999),
“Learning in networks”, Industrial Marketing Management,
Vol. 28, pp. 443-52.
Halldorsson, A. (2002), “Third party logistics: a means to
configure logistics resources and competencies”, PhD
Series No. 25.2002, Copenhagen Business School,
Halldorsson, A. and Skjoett-Larsen, T. (2004), “Developing
logistics competencies through third party logistics
relationships”, International Journal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 192-206.
Handfield, R.B. and Melnyk, S.A. (1998), “The scientific
theory-building process: a primer using the case of TQM”,
Journal of Operations Management,Vol.16No.4,
pp. 321-39.
Handfield, R.B. and Nichols, E.L. (2002), Supply Chain
Redesign: Transforming Supply Chains into Integrated Value
Systems, Financial Times Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs,
Harland, C. (1996), “Supply chain management:
relationships, chains and networks”, British Journal of
Management, Vol. 7, pp. 63-80.
Harland, C.M. and Knight, L.A. (2001), “Supply network
strategy: role and competence requirements”, International
Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 21
No. 4, pp. 476-89.
Heikkila¨, J. (2002), “From supply to demand chain
management: efficiency and customer satisfaction”,
Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 20, pp. 747-67.
Hertz, S. and Alfredsson, M. (2003), “Strategic development
of third party logistics providers”, Industrial Marketing
Management, Vol. 32, pp. 139-49.
Hsuan, J. (1999), “Impacts of supplier-buyer relationships on
modularization in new product development”, European
Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Vol. 5,
pp. 197-209.
Jap, S.D. (2001), “Perspectives on joint competitive
advantages in buyer-supplier relationships”, International
Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 18, pp. 19-35.
Johansen, J. and Riis, J.O. (2005), “The interactive firm –
towards a new paradigm”, International Journal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 202-16.
Johanson, J. and Mattsson, L.G. (1987), “Inter-
organizational relations in industrial systems: a network
approach compared with the transaction cost approach”,
Inter-Organizational Studies of Management and
Organization, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 34-48.
Ketchen, D. and Guinepero, L. (2004), “The intersection of
strategic management and supply chain management”,
Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 51-7.
Lambert, D.M., Cooper, M. and Pagh, J. (1998), “Supply
chain management: implementation issues and research
opportunities”, International Journal of Logistics
Management, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 1-19.
Lambert, D.M., Garcı
´a-Dastugue, S.J. and Croxton, K.L.
(2005), “An evaluation of process-oriented supply chain
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
management frameworks”, Journal of Business Logistics,
Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 25-51.
Lamming, R. (1996), “Squaring lean supply with supply
chain management”, International Journal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 183-96.
Langlois, R.N. and Robertson, P.L. (1992), “Networks and
innovation in a modular system: lessons from the
microcomputer and stereo component industries”,
Research Policy, Vol. 21, pp. 297-313.
Larson, P.D. and Gammelgaard, B. (2001), “Logistics in
Denmark: a survey of the industry”, International Journal of
Logistics: Research and Applications,Vol.4No.2,
pp. 191-206.
Larson, P.D. and Halldorsson, A. (2004), “Logistics versus
supply chain management: an international survey”,
International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications,
Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 17-31.
Lee, H. (1993), “Design for supply chain management:
concepts and examples”, in Sarin, R. (Ed.), Perspectives in
Operations Management: Essays in Honor of Elwood S. Buffa,
Kluwer, Boston, MA, pp. 45-65.
Lewis, M.A. (2000), “Lean production and sustainable
competitive advantage”, International Journal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 20 No. 8, pp. 959-78.
Logan, M.S. (2000), “Using agency theory to design
successful outsourcing relationships”, International Journal
of Logistics Management, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 21-32.
Maaloee, E. (1997), Case Studier – af og om Mennesker i
Organisationer, Akademisk Forlag, Aarhus.
MacNeil, I. (1980), The New Social Contract, Yale University
Press, New Haven, CT.
Madhok, A. (2002), “Reassessing the fundamentals and
beyond: Ronald Coase, the transaction cost and resource-
based theories of the firm and the institutional structure of
production”, Strategic Management Journal,Vol.23,
pp. 535-50.
Maltz, A. (1993), “Private fleet use: a transaction cost
model”, Transportation Journal, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 46-53.
Mears-Young, B. and Jackson, M.C. (1997), “Integrated
logistics: call in the revolutionaries!”, Omega: International
Journal of Management Science, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 605-18.
Mentzer, J.T., Min, S. and Bobbitt, L.M. (2004), “Towards a
unified theory of logistics”, Inter national Journal of Physical
Distribution & Logistics Management,Vol.34No.8,
pp. 606-27.
Mentzer, T., de Witt, W., Keebler, J., Min, S., Nix, N.,
Smith, C. and Zacharia, Z. (2001), “Defining supply chain
management”, Journal of Business Logistics, Vol. 22 No. 2,
pp. 1-26.
Mikkola, J.H. (2003a), “Product architecture modularity
strategies: toward a general theory”, Working Paper No. 02/
2003, Department of Operations Management,
Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg.
Mikkola, J.H. (2003b), “Modularity, component outsourcing,
and inter-firm learning”, RD Management, Vol. 33 No. 4,
pp. 439-54.
Mikkola, J.H. (2003c), “Modularization in new product
development: implications for product architectures, supply
chain management, and industry structure”, PhD Series
No. 3/2003, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg.
Mikkola, J.H. and Skjøtt-Larsen, L. (2004), “Supply chain
integration: implications for mass customization,
modularization and postponement strategies”, Production
Planning and Control, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 352-61.
Miller, S.R. and Ross, A.D. (2003), “An exploratory analysis
of resource utilization across organizational units:
understanding the resource-based view”, International
Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 23
No. 9, pp. 1062-83.
Min, S. and Mentzer, T. (2004), “Developing and measuring
supply chain management concepts”, Journal of Business
Logistics, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 63-99.
Momme, J., Moeller, M.M. and Hvolby, H.H. (2000),
“Linking modular product architecture to the strategic
sourcing process: case studies of two Danish industrial
enterprises”, International Journal of Logistics: Research and
Applications, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 127-46.
Monczka, R.M. and Morgan, J. (1997), “What’s wrong with
supply chain management?”, Purchasing, January, pp. 69-72.
Narayanan, V.G. and Raman, A. (2004), “Aligning incentives
in supply chains”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 82 No. 11,
pp. 94-102.
Nelson, R.R. and Winter, S.G. (1982), An Evolutionary
Theory of Economic Change, Belknap Press, Cambridge,
New, S.J. (1997), “The scope of supply chain management
research”, Supply Chain Management,Vol.2No.1,
pp. 15-22.
New, S. and Westbrook, R. (2004), Understanding Supply
Chains, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Olavarrieta, S. and Ellinger, A.E. (1997), “Resource-based
theory and strategic logistics research”, International Jour nal
of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 27 Nos
9/10, pp. 559-88.
Oliver, C. (1990), “Determinants of inter-organizational
relationships: integration and future directions”, Academy of
Management Review, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 241-65.
Oliver, R. and Webber, M. (1982), “Supply chain
management: logistics catches up with strategy”,
in Christopher, M. (Ed.), Logistics: The Strategic Issues,
Chapman & Hall, London.
postponement and speculation strategies: how to choose
the right strategy”, Journal of Business Logistics, Vol. 19
No. 2, pp. 13-33.
Pandza, K., Polajnar, A., Buchmeister, B. and Thorpe, R.
(2003), “Evolutionary perspectives on the capability
accumulation process”, International Journal of Operations
& Production Management, Vol. 23 Nos 7/8, pp. 822-49.
Penrose, E. (1959), The Theory of the Growth of the Firm,
Billing & Sons, London.
Persson, U. (1997), “A conceptual and empirical examination
of the management concept supply chain management”,
licentiate thesis, Division of Industrial Logistics, Lulea
University of Technology, Lulea
Pfeffer, J. and Salancik, G.R. (1978), The External Control of
Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective, Harper &
Row, New York, NY.
Picot, A., Reichwald, R. and Wigand, R. (2001),
Die grenzenlose Unter nehmung. Information, Organisation
und Management, 4th ed., Gabler, Wiesbaden.
Pine, J. (1993), Mass Customization, The New Frontier in
Business Competition, Harvard Business School Press,
Boston, MA.
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
Prahalad, C. and Hamel, G. (1990), “The core competence
of the corporation”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 68 No. 3,
pp. 79-91.
Ragatz, G.L., Handfield, R.B. and Scannell, T.V. (1997),
“Success factors for integrating suppliers into new product
development”, Journal of Product Innovation Management,
Vol. 14, pp. 190-202.
Rindfleisch, A. and Heide, J.B. (1997), “Transaction cost
analysis: past, present, and future applications”, Journal of
Marketing, Vol. 61 No. 4, pp. 30-54.
Romano, P. and Vinelli, A. (2001), “Quality management in a
supply chain perspective: strategic and operative choices in
a textile-apparel network”, International Journal of
Operations & Production Management, Vol. 21 No. 4,
pp. 446-60.
Rudberg, M. and Olhager, J. (2003), “Manufacturing
networks and supply chains: an operations strategy
perspective”, Omega, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 29-39.
Rungtusanatham, M., Salvador, F., Forza, C. and Choi, T.Y.
(2003), “Supply-chain linkages and operational
performance: a resource-based-view perspective”,
International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 23 No. 9, pp. 1084-99.
Salvador, F., Forza, C. and Rungtusanatham, M. (2002),
“Modularity, product variety, production volume, and
component sourcing: theorizing beyond generic
prescriptions”, Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 20,
pp. 549-75.
Salvador, F., Forza, C., Rungtusanatham, M. and Choi, T.Y.
(2001), “Supply chain interactions and time-related
performances: an operations management perspective”,
International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 457-61.
Sanchez, R. and Mahoney, J.T. (1996), “Modularity,
flexibility, and knowledge management in product and
organization design”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 17,
Special Issue, pp. 63-76.
Skjoett-Larsen, T. (1999), “Supply chain management: a new
challenge for researchers and managers in logistics”,
International Jour nal of Logistics Management,Vol.10
No. 2, pp. 41-53.
Skjoett-Larsen, T. (2000), “Third party logistics – from an
interorganizational point of view”, International Journal of
Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 30 No. 2,
pp. 112-27.
Srivastava, R., Shervani, T. and Fahey, L. (1999),
“Marketing, business processes, and shareholder value:
an organizationally embedded view of marketing activities
and the discipline of marketing”, Journal of Marketing,
Vol. 63 No. 4, pp. 168-79.
Stern, L. and Reve, T. (1980), “Distribution channels as
political economies: a framework for comparative analysis”,
Journal of Marketing, Vol. 44 No. 3, pp. 52-64.
Stuart, I.F. and McCutcheon, D. (1996), “Sustaining
strategic supplier alliances. Profiling the dynamic
requirements for continued development”, International
Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 16
No. 10, pp. 5-22.
Svensson, G. (2002), “The theoretical foundation of supply
chain management: a functionalist theor y of marketing”,
International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics
Management, Vol. 32 No. 9, pp. 734-54.
Tan, K., Choon, L., Steven, B. and Wisner, J.D. (2002),
“Supply chain management: a strategic perspective”,
International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 22 Nos 5/6, p. 614.
Tan, K.C., Kannan, V.R., Handfield, R.B. and Ghosh, S.
(1999), “Supply chain management: an empirical study of
itsimpactonperformance,International Journal of
Operations & Production Management, Vol. 19 No. 10,
pp. 1034-52.
Teece, D.J. (1986), “Profiting from technological innovation:
implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and
public policy”, Research Policy, Vol. 15, pp. 285-305.
Teece, D.J., Pisano, G. and Shuen, A. (1997), “Dynamic
capabilities and strategic management”, Strategic
Management Journal, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 509-33.
van Hoek, R.I. (2001), “The rediscovery of postponement:
a literature review and directions for future research”,
Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 19, pp. 161-84.
Wasti, S.N. and Liker, J.K. (1997), “Risky business or
competitive power? Supplier involvement in Japanese
product design”, Journal of Product Innovation
Management, Vol. 14, pp. 337-55.
Williamson, O. (1975), Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and
Antitrust Implications, The Free Press, London.
Williamson, O. (1985), The Economic Institutions of Capitalism:
Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting, The Free Press, New
York, NY.
Williamson, O. (1996), The Mechanisms of Gover nance,
Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Williamson, O.E. (1999), “Strategy research: governance and
competence perspectives”, Strategic Management Journal,
Vol. 20, pp. 1089-108.
Wynstra, F., Weele, A.V. and Weggemann, M. (2001),
“Managing supplier involvement in product development:
three critical issues”, European Management Journal, Vol. 19
No. 2, pp. 157-66.
Corresponding author
Tage Skjøtt-Larsen can be contacted at:
Complementary theories to supply chain management
Arni Halldorsson et al.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume 12 · Number 4 · 2007 · 284– 296
To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail:
Or visit our web site for further details:
... As a resource, digital technology helps enterprises to gain competitive advantages. The application and innovation of digital technology based on the original tangible and intangible resources of enterprises optimizes the allocation of enterprise resources [22]. ...
Full-text available
The global supply chain has suffered an unprecedented impact Affected by multiple factors such as anti-globalization, rising trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the technology-organization-environment framework and resource-based theory, this study attempts to explore and analyze what drives a firm’s willingness to adopt artificial intelligence technology and how such willingess to adopt artificial intelligence technology may contribute to supply chain resilience and supply chain performance. Using survey data collected from 318 firms in China, we empirically test our arguments and hypotheses through the structural equation modeling approach. The results suggest that the relative advantages of enterprise artificial intelligence technology, supply chain collaboration, and environmental uncertainty are the three major factors affecting the adoption of artificial intelligence technology, which subsequently provide a positive impact on supply chain resilience and supply chain performance. This study expands the application field and scope of artificial intelligence technology, fills the relatively large gap in the research on the behavior of enterprise users adopting artificial intelligence technology in the supply chain field. This provides a useful reference for enterprises to adopt artificial intelligence technology.
... 2.1 Mitigating agency problems through principal-agent theory (PAT) Due to separate ownership and control of economic activity between principal and agent, partnering firms may confront multiple agency-related challenges (Halldorsson et al., 2007(Halldorsson et al., , 2015. These include information asymmetry, conflicting objectives, the uncertainty of outcomes, self-interest serving behaviour, the varying level of risk aversion and bounded rationality. ...
Purpose In a volatile agricultural postharvest market, producers require more personalized information about market dynamics for informed decisions on the marketed surplus. However, this adaptive strategy fails to benefit them if the selection of a computational price predictive model to disseminate information on the market outlook is not efficient, and the associated risk of perishability, and storage cost factor are not assumed against the seemingly favourable market behaviour. Consequently, the decision of whether to store or sell at the time of crop harvest is a perennial dilemma to solve. With the intent of addressing this challenge for agricultural producers, the study is focused on designing an agricultural decision support system (ADSS) to suggest a favourable marketing strategy to crop producers. Design/methodology/approach The present study is guided by an eclectic theoretical perspective from supply chain literature that included agency theory, transaction cost theory, organizational information processing theory and opportunity cost theory in revenue risk management. The paper models a structured iterative algorithmic framework that leverages the forecasting capacity of different time series and machine learning models, considering the effect of influencing factors on agricultural price movement for better forecasting predictability against market variability or dynamics. It also attempts to formulate an integrated risk management framework for effective sales planning decisions that factors in the associated costs of storage, rental and physical loss until the surplus is held for expected returns. Findings Empirical demonstration of the model was simulated on the dynamic markets of tomatoes, onions and potatoes in a north Indian region. The study results endorse that farmer-centric post-harvest information intelligence assists crop producers in the strategic sales planning of their produce, and also vigorously promotes that the effectiveness of decision making is contingent upon the selection of the best predictive model for every future market event. Practical implications As a policy implication, the proposed ADSS addresses the pressing need for a robust marketing support system for the socio-economic welfare of farming communities grappling with distress sales, and low remunerative returns. Originality/value Based on the extant literature studied, there is no such study that pays personalized attention to agricultural producers, enabling them to make a profitable sales decision against the volatile post-harvest market scenario. The present research is an attempt to fill that gap with the scope of addressing crop producer's ubiquitous dilemma of whether to sell or store at the time of harvesting. Besides, an eclectic and iterative style of predictive modelling has also a limited implication in the agricultural supply chain based on the literature; however, it is found to be a more efficient practice to function in a dynamic market outlook.
... Uma cadeia de suprimentos pode ser compreendida como o fluxo de materiais, informações e recursos financeiros verificado desde a exploração da matéria-prima até o consumidor final, percorrendo em ambas as direções entre as organizações envolvidas (HALLDORSSON et al., 2007). Portanto, uma cadeia de suprimentos nada mais é que uma rede de empresas que fornecem e são abastecidas de bens e informações necessários para o atendimento das necessidades do cliente. ...
... Furthermore, it is emphasized that LSPs play a vital role in enhancing the whole supply chain's competitiveness (Fulconis et al, 2006). In general, LSPs can increase supply chain performance (Halldorsson, Kotzab, Mikkola, and Skjøtt-Larsen, 2007) and supply chain performance, in turn, affects the competitive advantage of supply chains as a whole. Because LSPs influence the quality of their outsourced customers' operations, they play an important role in supply chains. ...
Full-text available
Although relationship commitment (RC) is the foundation for inter-firm information sharing (IS) activities, extant studies have only discussed the influence of normative RC on IS but ignored the impact of instrumental RC and the moderators that affect these relationships. Combining transaction cost economics (TCE) and social exchange theory (SET), this study probes the impacts of normative RC and instrumental RC on IS content and IS system between manufacturers and suppliers and investigates the moderating effects of environmental uncertainty (EUN) on these relationships. Using the data collected from 410 Chinese manufacturers, this research finds that normative RC promotes IS content and IS system, but instrumental RC generates non-significant impacts on them. However, these effects significantly change when the business environment becomes more uncertain, demonstrating the necessity to consider EUN as the moderator. Besides, supplier IS content and IS system improve service performance and IS system increases IS content.
Purpose Organizations invest in novel digital innovations to improve their business processes. These innovations, including Industry 4.0 technologies, enable full organizational integration with business process management (BPM), thereby requiring interorganizational relationship (IOR) capabilities. Many organizations lack knowledge about areas of interorganizational (IO) capability for integrating digital innovations into their value chains. They therefore have difficulty understanding that, as a socio-technical concept, digitalization surpasses the intraorganizational level and requires tools to develop mandatory IOR capabilities. The authors’ systematic literature review (SLR) explores these capabilities within the discipline of BPM. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach This SLR follows the standard methodology for structuring a broad research field. The authors assessed capabilities relevant to manufacturing organizations from 58 academic articles published between 2011 and 2021. Findings Building on existing firm-centric capability frameworks, the authors developed individual capabilities into a novel framework of digital interorganizational value chain (DIOVC). The authors’ conceptual model provides a basis for researchers and practitioners to consider capabilities and the theoretical spectrum of IO value chains. Research limitations/implications Future studies should validate these DIOVC capabilities as input for an updated model of BPM maturity aimed at improving business process performance through digital innovations. Practical implications This study provides organizations with IOR knowledge, supports decision makers in governing digital innovations and develops IO capabilities to improve their value chain performance. Originality/value The authors’ DIOVC capability framework is robust, with constructs and dimensions grounded in the literature, demonstrating theoretical and practical relevance.
Full-text available
The proliferation of digital devices and services has fundamentally changed customers’ shopping behaviour and has occasioned a new type of retailing called omnichannel retailing. Omnichannel retailing requires retailers to completely transform, moving away from managing processes in silos towards offering fully integrated and seamless shopping experiences across all the retailers’ physical and digital channels and touchpoints. The imperative to create seamless shopping experiences has rippled through every part of the retail supply chain. Accordingly, internal supply chain integration (SCI) has become central to a retailer’s ability to integrate the vast network of channels and functions that need to collaborate to create an omnichannel shopping experience. However, retailers highlight numerous difficulties when transforming their supply chains from previous types of multichannel retailing to omnichannel retailing. By applying the strategic management theory of the dynamic capabilities view (DCV) this study explores the question of which dynamic capabilities facilitate the internal SCI of omnichannel retailers. To answer this question, the study employed a multimethod qualitative methodology. First, an in-depth literature review was conducted to identify dynamic capabilities within the scope of this study. Based on this process, a coding frame was developed. The coding frame was used to conduct a content analysis of 40 South African omnichannel retailers’ integrated annual reports (IARs). Second, 17 semi-structured interviews were conducted with top managers employed at South African omnichannel retailers. The interview data were transcribed and then analysed employing reflexive thematic analysis. Following the analysis of these two datasets, the findings were triangulated and a conceptual framework of dynamic capabilities that facilitate the internal SCI of omnichannel retailers was developed. The conceptual framework identified 14 dynamic capabilities that facilitate internal SCI, and elaborated on how each capability promotes internal SCI. These findings make a unique contribution as managers can use the list of dynamic capabilities to appraise their internal competencies to identify and prioritise the development of capabilities that facilitate competitiveness and adaptability in an ever-changing omnichannel environment. Furthermore, these findings make a unique contribution by being among the first to take an end-to-end approach to the investigation of omnichannel supply chain integration.
Full-text available
Les Très Petites Entreprises-TPE sont assujetties à une forte concurrence. Il leur est indispensable de convertir leurs ressources en avantages compétitifs. Les entreprises doivent envisager leur supply chain management en leviers compétitifs. C’est un enjeu majeur en raison des difficultés de gestion des TPE de leurs maigres ressources. Quel est le rôle des ressources en lien avec le Management de la Supply Chain dans la recherche de compétitivité d’une TPE ? Manquant de ressources et ayant une position désavantagée dans la Supply Chain, comment font les TPEs pour surmonter ces obstacles ? Une étude de cas dans le secteur des vins et spiritueux est menée. Les résultats montrent que l’entreprise génère suffisamment de marge pour ne pas avoir à envisager une optimisation de sa SC passant par une meilleure mobilisation de ses ressources, et semble se focaliser sur une approche portérienne de diversification et de différentiation.
Research in operations management suggests that firms can mitigate the negative impact of product variety on operational performance by deliberately pursuing modularity in the design of product family architectures. However, modularity is not a dichotomous property of a product, as different types of modularity can be embedded into a product family architecture. The present paper explores how manufacturing characteristics affect the appropriate type of modularity to be embedded into the product family architecture, and how the types of modularity relate to component sourcing. The study is based on a qualitative research design involving a multiple case study methodology to examine six product families belonging to six European companies. The themes derived through case analyses are synthesized in the form of empirical generalizations. Insights from these empirical generalizations are subsequently developed into two propositions explaining why and under what conditions these empirical generalizations might hold for a product family outside of the original sample. The theoretical results formalize, first of all, a type of modularity (i.e. combinatorial modularity) not currently described in literature. Second, the theoretical propositions suggest that when the desired level of product variety is low (high) relative to total production volume, component swapping modularity (combinatorial modularity) helps to maximize operational performance. Finally, the complexity of component families outsourced to suppliers and the geographical proximity of component family suppliers affect the extent to which the product variety–operational performance trade‐off can be mitigated through modularity.
How do companies in the fast‐growing industries achieve good customer satisfaction together with efficiency in supply chain management (SCM)? This inductive case study of six customer cases of Nokia Networks, one of the leading providers of mobile telecommunication technology, led to propositions exploring that question. Good relationship between the customer and the supplier contributes to reliable information flows, and reliable demand information flows in turn contribute to high efficiency—these are well‐researched issues also in other industry environments. But in a fast‐growing systems business such as mobile telecommunications industry, the supplier needs to be able to adapt its offering to a wide variety of customer situations and needs. Understanding the customer’s situation and need together with the right offering contributes to good co‐operation in improving the joint demand chain, which further leads to superior demand chain efficiency and high customer satisfaction.
Mass customization is a paradox‐breaking manufacturing reality that combines the unique products of craft manufacturing with the cost‐efficient manufacturing methods of mass production. Although this phenomenon is known to exist in practice, academic research has not adequately investigated this new form of competition. In this research, we develop a configurational model for classifying mass customizers based on customer involvement in design and product modularity. We validate this typology through an empirical analysis and classification of 126 mass customizers. We also explore manufacturing systems and performance implications of the various mass customization configurations.
The authors develop a framework for understanding the integration of marketing with business processes and shareholder value. The framework redefines marketing phenomena as embedded in three core business processes that generate value for customers—product development management, supply chain management, and customer relationship management—which in turn creates shareholder value. Such a conceptualization of marketing has the potential to introduce dramatic shifts in the scope, content, and influence of marketing in the organization. The authors highlight the implications of an organizationally embedded view of marketing for the future of marketing theory and practice.
This paper presents a unifying framework for the analysis of distribution channels which encompasses both economic and sociopolitical determinants of channel member behavior and provides a suitable departure point for comparative work. The framework integrates present approaches to the study of marketing channels and provides an essential, but heretofore missing, basis for comprehensive empirical research in the area.
Over the past decade, transaction cost analysis (TCA) has received considerable attention in the marketing literature. Marketing scholars have made important contributions in extending and refining TCA's original conceptual framework. The authors provide a synthesis and integration of recent contributions to TCA by both marketers and scholars in related disciplines, an evaluation of recent critiques of TCA, and an agenda for further research on TCA.