The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework for extending an understanding of resilience in complex adaptive system (CAS) such as supply chains using the adaptive cycle framework. The adaptive cycle framework may help explain change and the long term dynamics and resilience in supply chain networks. Adaptive cycles assume that dynamic systems such as supply chain networks go through stages of growth, development, collapse and reorientation. Adaptive cycles suggest that the resilience of a complex adaptive system such as supply chains are not fixed but expand and contract over time and resilience requires such systems to navigate each of the cycles’ four stages successfully.
This research uses the adaptive cycle framework to explain supply chain resilience (SCRES). It explores the phases of the adaptive cycle, its pathologies and key properties and links these to competences and behaviors that are important for system and SCRES. The study develops a conceptual framework linking adaptive cycles to SCRES. The goal is to extend dynamic theories of SCRES by borrowing from the adaptive cycle framework. We review the literature on the adaptive cycle framework, its properties and link these to SCRES.
The key insight is that the adaptive cycle concept can broaden our understanding of SCRES beyond focal scales, including cross-scale resilience. As a framework, the adaptive cycle can explain the mechanisms that support or prevent resilience in supply chains. Adaptive cycles may also give us new insights into the sort of competences required to avoid stagnation, promote system renewal as resilience expands and contracts over time.
The adaptive cycle may move our discussion of resilience beyond engineering and ecological resilience to include evolutionary resilience. While the first two presently dominates our theorizing on SCRES, evolutionary resilience may be more insightful than both are. Adaptive cycles capture the idea of change, adaptation and transformation and allow us to explore cross-scale resilience.
Knowing how to prepare for and overcoming key pathologies associated with each stage of the adaptive cycle can broaden our repertoire of strategies for managing SCRES across time. Human agency is important for preventing systems from crossing critical thresholds into imminent collapse. More importantly, disruptions may present an opportunity for innovation and renewal for building more resilience supply chains.
This research is one of the few studies that have applied the adaptive cycle concept to SCRES and extends our understanding of the dynamic structure of SCRES
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