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Nordic research in logistics and supply chain management: an empirical analysis

Jan Stentoft Arlbjørn (Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark)
Patrik Jonsson (Division of Logistics and Transportation, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)
John Johansen (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




The purpose of this data‐based analysis is to report and reflect on the characteristics of the academic discipline concerned with logistics and supply chain management (SCM) as it is conducted in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). The paper further seeks to explain variations in the research field in terms of the demographics, research domains and methodologies, and publication patterns of the study's respondents.


An e‐mail questionnaire survey was distributed to 353 researchers based in the Nordic countries. With 144 answers returned, the response rate was 41 per cent.


The study did not provide a clear picture of a distinct Nordic research paradigm applying to the study of logistics and SCM. The analysis shows as characteristic of research issues pursued by Nordic researchers the focus on supply chains and networks and the use of dyads, chains or networks of organizations as levels of analysis. The use of case study methodology and a highly diversified publication pattern were likewise evident. Most researchers were found to rely heavily on external research funding. Significant differences were also identified for research conducted by researchers holding PhD degrees as compared to research by respondents with lower degrees, for researchers affiliated with institutions based in the technical sciences in comparison to those in the social sciences, and for institutions according to their varying degrees of experience with research in the field and external funding.

Research limitations/implications

The research reported here may help individual researchers raise their consciousness about their own research.


This is the first empirical study to analyze research paradigms within logistics and SCM in the Nordic countries. It identifies a number of significant differences in regard to research patterns among various categories of researchers and institutions.



Stentoft Arlbjørn, J., Jonsson, P. and Johansen, J. (2008), "Nordic research in logistics and supply chain management: an empirical analysis", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 452-474.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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