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Strategic supply chains: a configurational perspective

Javad Feizabadi (MIT Global SCALE Network-MISI, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
David Gligor (School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA)
Somayeh Alibakhshi (Independent Supply Chain Researcher, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 13 May 2021

Issue publication date: 15 October 2021




Drawing on configuration theory and adopting a holistic perspective, the authors aim to explore strategic supply chain elements' interaction with internal and external contextual conditions. Specifically, they evaluate multivariate co-alignment of supply chain's capabilities (agility, adaptability, alignment), adhocracy organizational structure and environmental uncertainty (dynamism, munificence and complexity) that lead to superior performance outcomes (supply chain cycle time, financial performance, market performance).


A survey research design is adopted to collect primary and secondary data from 182 international firms. Cluster analysis and profile deviation techniques are employed first to derive a taxonomy of strategic supply chains and then examine multivariate co-alignment.


The analysis reveals that four groups of triple-A supply chains could emerge. It is found that strategic supply chains exhibit a flexible/organic/fluid organizational structure and a high level of triple-As in their processes. These supply chains perform superior to a higher level of environmental complexity, munificence and dynamism.

Practical implications

This study's results provide insights for practitioners by informing their investment decisions for developing strategic supply chains. Specifically, this research highlights the contextuality of triple-A supply chains and offers best practices to capitalize on strategic supply chains.


Executives in organizations require a holistic understanding of various elements to ensure that the organizational system as a whole performs effectively. This research offers insights into the interdependencies of triple-A supply chains with other organizational and external environmental elements. Noteworthy implications for scholarship in operations/supply chain management and supply chain practitioners are presented.



Feizabadi, J., Gligor, D. and Alibakhshi, S. (2021), "Strategic supply chains: a configurational perspective", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 1093-1123.



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