Theoretical perspectives on the coordination of supply chains

Holweg, Matthias and Pil, Frits K. (2008) Theoretical perspectives on the coordination of supply chains. Journal of Operations Management, 26 (3). pp. 389-406.


Supply-chain coordination relies on the availability of prompt and accurate information that is visible to all actors in the supply chain. However, new demands on the supply-chain system require changes to information flow and exchange. We undertake a case study of three automotive supply chains that face such new demands resulting from the introduction of an order-driven supply-chain strategy. We use our case study findings to evaluate the applicability of three different theoretical lenses on the multi-faceted interactions between information, physical flow, and the complex rationales driving supply-chain evolution: the resource-based view (RBV), the concept of complex adaptive systems (CAS), and adaptive structuration theory (AST). We find that each theory has a separate realm of applicability and while complimentary in nature, provides distinct insight on the structural shift in the supply-chain system. More specifically, we find that AST, a theory prominent in the social sciences, provides novel insights to supply-chain research at the firm level, particularly with respect to the difficulties in using IT systems to drive systemic change. It complements both the system-level perspective offered by the complex adaptive systems theory, as well as the concept of dynamic capabilities originating in the resourced-based view. The paper concludes with wider implications for future research in supply and value chain management.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Supply-chain management; Value-chain management; MIS–operations interface; Information technology; Case study/research methods
Subject(s): Operations management
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2015 15:45
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2015 15:36
Funders: N/A

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