Teleological approaches in supply chain management: illustrations

Göran Svensson (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 26 January 2010



The purpose of this paper is to provide insights and describe teleological approaches in the context of Supply Chain Management (SCM).


A conceptual framework is outlined derived from complexity sciences to widen and enhance the exploration and understanding of SCM.


Research and literature in the field of SCM have to a large extent neglected the possible underlying formative and rationalist nature of it, rather than considering or highlighting its potentially transformative nature.

Research limitations/implications

Teleological approaches of SCM provide valuable insights in managing supply chains. They also provide innovative and challenging opportunities for further research in the field of SCM.

Practical implications

The application of teleological approaches in supply chains may encourage and lead to managerial ideas and insights to anticipate and avoid deficient or erroneous grounds in the planning, implementation and evaluation of SCM.


Teleological approaches make a contribution to the ongoing exploration and discussion of SCM, such as: incorporating a frame of reference from complexity sciences. The author believes that it also provides a timely topic in times of crisis as it compares different teleological approaches – some more dynamic and flexible than others.



Svensson, G. (2010), "Teleological approaches in supply chain management: illustrations", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 16-20.

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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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