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The past and future of supply chain collaboration: a literature synthesis and call for research

Peter M. Ralston (Department of Marketing and Economics, University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida, USA)
R. Glenn Richey (Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Scott J. Grawe (College of Business, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to provide scholarly and practical benefits by detailing the past and suggesting a future research agenda for supply chain (SC) collaboration. A literature review is utilized to examine what has been investigated prior, and what remains to be analyzed, in order to assist today’s managers and researchers. The research expands the understanding of SC collaboration from a focal firm perspective while providing boundaries for future investigation and at the same time detailing the current state of collaboration to practitioners.


The current research utilizes a systematic review of the literature to shape a proposed research agenda on the topic of SC collaboration.


The paper provides insights into gaps in the literature as it pertains to SC collaboration. Specifically, the paper suggests investigating SC collaboration as it relates to perceived and real performance, understanding what know-how and commitment a focal firm must make to SC collaboration, and how to successfully navigate collaboration termination.

Research limitations/implications

This manuscript makes four specific contributions to the literature. First, it provides the first holistic graphic depiction of the central constructs employed in extant SC collaboration research. Next it examines three specific factor areas influencing collaboration. Overlooked issues are then revealed as suggestions for future research in SC collaboration. Finally, the method employed to conduct the systematic literature review can be used as a blueprint for future researchers in performing a similar exercise.

Practical implications

The current research seeks to provide a research agenda which meets the needs of today’s business managers.


The paper provides a suggested research agenda for SC collaboration.



M. Ralston, P., Richey, R.G. and J. Grawe, S. (2017), "The past and future of supply chain collaboration: a literature synthesis and call for research", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 508-530.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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