Britta Gammelgaard (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 8 May 2017


Gammelgaard, B. (2017), "Editorial", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 226-227. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-02-2017-0051



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Greetings from the new editor of IJLM

As many of you have probably noted, I have taken over the editorship of the International Journal of Logistics Management (IJLM) from the beginning of this year. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the interim Editor, Ben Hazen, for doing a fantastic job with the journal over the last couple of years. Ben will still be connected to IJLM and I look forward to drawing on his experience and research expertise in the years to come. The 2017 volume will consist of articles accepted by Ben. I would also like to add my sincere thanks to the members of the Editorial Advisory Board, who have served the journal well, many of them for many years. Some now want to prioritise their time differently, and a special thank you to them. Luckily, most want to stay and help develop IJLM to its next level. I am sincerely grateful for that.

In the future, the editorial profile and philosophy of IJLM will change somewhat. First of all, it will focus on empirical research, quantitative and/or qualitative. Literature reviews and conceptual research are, however, still welcome. Articles that solely build on mathematical modelling will be referred to other journals that have the necessary mathematical editorial and review expertise and audiences.

Next, IJLM aims to be the outlet for scientific exploration and playfulness within the field of logistics and SCM. Here, I am specifically inspired by the editorial “Happy Birthday, AMD” by Editor Andrew Van de Ven (2016) in the new journal Academy of Management Discoveries. Here, he describes explorative research as the initial stage of research and the explorative research process as one that is “[…] uncovering and providing deep insight into managerial phenomena that are poorly understood” (Van de Ven, 2016, p. 223). Van de Ven further suggests that an abductive approach will be the most suitable for explorative research. You can read more about abduction in his editorial and go to the Kovács and Spens’ (2005) article “Abductive reasoning in logistics research” in our own field. The scope of AMD is of course broader than ours, but the idea of the explorative research process should be transferable.

A natural consequence of taking an explorative stance in IJLM is an emphasis on qualitative research. However, qualitative research also exists in its own right and may find its place as such in the journal. Importantly, there are both objective and subjective ontological approaches to qualitative research, and there may be substantive new knowledge waiting to be developed from a subjective ontology: for further insight, see Gammelgaard and Flint (2012), “Qualitative research in logistics and supply chain management: beyond the justification for using qualitative methods”. For example, an interpretive approach to logistics and supply chain research will expand our understanding, especially of managers’ role in our discipline. In my opinion, this will be a natural continuation of the legacy of the founders of the journal, Professors Douglas M. Lambert and Martin Christopher. Furthermore, a subjective ontology will open the doors to understanding the role of the “human touch” in logistics and supply chain systems. The human aspect, “the people dimension”, was recently listed as the most important, neglected research issue in the discipline: see Wieland et al. (2016), “Mapping the landscape of future research themes in supply chain management” in Journal of Business Logistics. Here, a broader range of ontological approaches may help capture more knowledge relevant to logistics management, both theory and practice. My vision is that, in the years to come, IJLM will make a clear and substantial contribution to developing the scientific level of qualitative research and its input into the field.

Last, but not least, the “International” part of the journal’s title will be taken even more seriously. This not only refers to research contributions from many parts of the world, but also to contributions that specifically expand our knowledge of international and global logistics and supply chain systems. With the most recent geopolitical changes – and probably more to come – the world needs research and insight on international logistics and supply chain systems.

Finally, I want to emphasise that the changes in editorial profile and their impact will not happen overnight. However, we look for your support, and hope that you will be eager to participate in new developments in logistics management research and, of course, in IJLM and the IJLM community. Comments to the new profile are welcome as well as inquiries about the suitability of research ideas.


Gammelgaard, B. and Flint, D. (2012), “Qualitative research in logistics and supply chain management: beyond the justification for using qualitative methods”, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 42 Nos 8/9.

Kovács, G. and Spens, K.M. (2005), “Abductive reasoning in logistics research”, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 132-144.

Van de Ven, A. (2016), “Happy Birthday, AMD!”, Academy of Management Discoveries, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 223-235.

Wieland, A., Handfield, R. and Durach, C.F. (2016), “Mapping the landscape of future research themes in supply chain management”, Journal of Business Logistics, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 205-212.

About the author

Britta Gammelgaard is a Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Department of Operations Management at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. She stepped in as an Editor of IJLM from 1 January 2017. Before that she served as an European Editor of Journal of Business Logistics, and has been Guest Editor of numerous special issues in several scientific journals within the field of logistics and supply chain management. She has published in journals such as Journal of Business Logistics, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management and International Journal of Production & Operations Management. She was the initiator of the CSCMP European Research Seminar (ERS) and has chaired/co-chaired the seminar since its inauguration in 2006. Britta Gammelgaard can be contacted at: bg.om@cbs.dk