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Supply chain security: an overview and research agenda

Zachary Williams (Department of Marketing and Hospitality Services Administration, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA)
Jason E. Lueg (Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis, and Business Law, College of Business and Industry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA)
Stephen A. LeMay (Dalton State College, Dalton, Georgia, USA)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 15 August 2008




Supply chain security (SCS), as a component of an organization's overall supply chain risk management strategy, has become a critical factor for businesses and government agencies since September 11, 2001, yet little empirical research supports policy or practice for the field. Therefore, this paper develops and presents a categorization of SCS based on existing research. This categorization of supply chain literature can help academics and practitioners to better understand SCS and also helps to identify a research agenda. Setting a research agenda for SCS will help academic and practitioner research focus on critical issues surrounding SCS.


The researchers thoroughly reviewed the literature on SCS, including academic publications, white papers, and practitioner periodicals. The literature was then categorized according to the approach to SCS and the practical implications of this categorization are presented. In addition, this categorization was used to identify research gaps.


This analysis found that SCS needs more attention from the academic community. Like earlier assessments of this literature, this analysis found it to be mainly normative, with little research based on primary data. This paper categorizes the literature into four approaches to SCS: intraorganizational, interorganizational, a combination of intraorganizational and interorganizational, and ignore. This study develops a focused agenda for future, primary, empirical research on SCS.

Research limitations/implications

The sources of data for this literature review are secondary. The review sets a research agenda and calls for future empirical testing.

Practical implications

Practitioners will benefit from the framework presented here by better understanding approaches to SCS. This comprehensive review discusses the characteristics of SCS in great depth. As other researchers follow the research agenda, practitioners will benefit from the empirical findings and theory building.


This paper summarizes the literature on SCS to date, a topic that has grown in importance, yet received little attention from academics. This is the first comprehensive literature review of SCS. It includes a categorization of four possible approaches to SCS. It also distinguishes SCS from supply chain risk, while also recognizing their relationship. It identifies key issues in SCS research and calls for future research.



Williams, Z., Lueg, J.E. and LeMay, S.A. (2008), "Supply chain security: an overview and research agenda", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 254-281.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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