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Re-visiting the supply chain: a communication perspective

Rossella C. Gambetti (Department of Economics and Management Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy)
Mattia Giovanardi (Department of Economics and Management Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 7 October 2013




This study is aimed at revisiting the supply chain (SC) of a company, highlighting how communication supports SC management, emphasising how SC relationship-based processes are fostered by communication flows, and exploring how SC performance may be enhanced through coordinated management of interpersonal and internet-mediated communication forms.


The study follows a two-step qualitative methodological approach encompassing the building of a preliminary conceptual mapping, and preliminary testing, integration and revision of the conceptual mapping.


The findings highlight communication's primary role in identity management and image building of the SC, and its supporting role enhancing strategic and operational SC processes. Communication seems to act as a “cultural glue”, a “trade-off and compensation”, a “knowledge creation and dissemination”, a “relationship development and maintenance”, and an “alignment and integration” activity along the SC, fostering knowledge, managerial, relational and competitive SC performance dimensions.

Practical implications

The combination of SC and corporate communication academic knowledge with field SC managerial expertise allows the proposal of a preliminary conceptual framework illustrating the potential links among SC processes, communication and SC performance. The study provides also a set of research propositions to guide both future research and managerial practice in communication management along the SC.


This study offers a first exploratory “communicational view” of the SC, which beyond analysing communication in the corporate locus of the typical communication function explores the value of communication that is embedded in manufacturing processes and routines at the basis of corporate performance by developing a cross-functional communication approach.



C. Gambetti, R. and Giovanardi, M. (2013), "Re-visiting the supply chain: a communication perspective", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 390-416.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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