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Dynamic capabilities and sustainable supply chain management

Philip Beske (Department of International Management, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 11 May 2012




Most sustainable supply chains are situated in dynamic environments, which leads to the assumption that management of such chains requires the application of dynamic management theories, such as the dynamic capabilities (DC) concept. In spite of this, DCs have only scarcely been taken up in (sustainable) supply chain management (SSCM) research. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to discuss the complementarities of DCs and SSCM research; and second, to develop a framework which integrates DCs in SSCM practices.


The paper is conceptual in nature and grounded in SSCM and DC theory. Relevant literature from the SCM, SSCM and DC context has been scrutinized. In total, three models from SSCM and DC literature, together with related inputs from other literature sources, have been conjoined.


DC and SSCM are linked through similar environmental and organizational conditions, making the application of DC concepts in the field of SSCM a logical choice. The framework embeds specific DCs into SSCM practices.

Research limitations/implications

The presented framework is a step towards building an analytical basis for future empirical research in this area. Discussion on the nature of DCs is still going on, as well as on how to measure supply chain performance. The framework can only give indications and help in the theory building process. Furthermore, the underlying frameworks used for the development of the framework presented here have been derived through different methodologies and not all of them have, as yet, been (fully) empirically tested.

Practical implications

Investment in DCs and implementation of SSCM practices improves the agility of the overall supply chain and can lead to higher performance against the three dimensions of sustainability.


The paper is the first explicit framework linking SSCM and DC theory. The framework shows that the DC concept can be and indeed should be applied to SSCM research and practice. Furthermore, explicit DCs are put forward. It is a step towards building an analytical basis for future empirical research in this area.



Beske, P. (2012), "Dynamic capabilities and sustainable supply chain management", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 372-387.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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