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Schools in logistics research? A methodological framework for analysis of the discipline

Britta Gammelgaard (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 1 July 2004

Abstract

In the logistics literature, it is stated that research results are produced almost entirely within a positivistic paradigm. As a consequence, there is only one school in logistics research, and it is based on the positivistic approach. It also means that the research questions are derived from the same methodological approach, which tends to produce similar questions and answers. In this paper, Arbnor and Bjerke's methodological framework is presented as a basic platform for analysing logistics research. By using the framework, it becomes evident that logistics research can be divided into two schools based on the underlying methodological approach. The schools are the analytical school, building on positivism, and the systems school, building on systems theory. Arbnor and Bjerke's framework also provides a basis for expanding the logistics discipline with yet another school, the actors school, based on sociological meta‐theories. Hence, the framework provides logistics research with a solid basis for analyzing existing research and a direction for future research.

Keywords

Citation

Gammelgaard, B. (2004), "Schools in logistics research? A methodological framework for analysis of the discipline", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 479-491. https://doi.org/10.1108/09600030410548541

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited