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Assessing the rigor of case study research in supply chain management

Stefan A. Seuring (Department of International Management, University of Kassel, Witzen Hausen, Germany)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 14 March 2008




This paper aims to assess the current practice in research on supply chain management applying a case study method. Two particular research fields, namely sustainable supply chain management (SustSCM) and performance supply chain management (PerformSCM), are used as examples.


The paper is based on a content analysis, where quality criteria for documenting case study research are analyzed. A total of 68 papers from the two research fields (51 SustSCM and 17 PerformSCM) forms the sample. The criteria of analysis chosen are taken from the case study research process.


There are two major findings: first, supply chain researchers have to make a greater effort to collect data from supply chains (i.e. at least two, or better, three or more stages of the supply chains). Second, the research process needs to be more comprehensively documented in related peer‐reviewed journal publications. This way, the value of case study based research might be appreciated more, as well enabling stronger conclusions to be drawn on the individual piece of research.

Research limitations/implications

The research presented focuses on two particular fields inside SCM. However, the observations made that methodological rigor is often lacking in the papers holds for both fields.


The paper contributes to the further development of appropriate empirical research strategies for supply chain management.



Seuring, S.A. (2008), "Assessing the rigor of case study research in supply chain management", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 128-137.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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