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The road to supply chain agility: an RBV perspective on the role of logistics capabilities

David M. Gligor (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas, USA)
Mary Holcomb (Department of Marketing & Logistics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 6 May 2014




The concept of supply chain agility (SCA) has been identified as one of the most important issues in supply chain management literature. However, despite the popularity of the concept, many attributes of SCA are largely unexplored. One area that is deficient in research is the antecedents of SCA. This paper aims to seek further theory development by addressing these gaps in the SCA literature.


Data for this study were obtained from a field survey. A mail questionnaire was constructed that contained items measuring the constructs of interest. The theoretical model was evaluated using structural equation modeling.


The findings indicate that logistics capabilities positively impact SCA. The results provide empirical evidence for logistics’ unique and critical role in helping firms respond in a timely and effective manner to market volatility and other uncertainties.

Research limitations/implications

As is the case with most supply chain survey research, the constructs of interest were evaluated based on the perception of a single party involved in a specific relationship. Future research using multiple dyads or triads within various supply chains could address this limitation.

Practical implications

If limited resources are available for investment (as is often the case), a more balanced distribution of resources toward the development of multiple logistics capabilities (e.g. demand-management interface, information-management interface) is preferred to pooling all the resources toward the development of a single capability (e.g. information-management interface).


Considering logistics’ boundary-spanning nature, prior research suggest that logistics capabilities perform a key role in achieving SCA. However, the relationship between firm-specific logistics capabilities and SCA has not been empirically tested. This paper address that gap in the research.



M. Gligor, D. and Holcomb, M. (2014), "The road to supply chain agility: an RBV perspective on the role of logistics capabilities", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 160-179.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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