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(Re)-discovering simulation as a critical element of OM/SCM research: call for research

Steven Alexander Melnyk (Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Matthias Thürer (Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany)
Constantin Blome (Management Department, Lancaster University Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany) (LSM/CORE, UCLouvain, Mons, Belgium)
Tobias Schoenherr (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Stefan Gold (Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 5 December 2023

Issue publication date: 10 June 2024

352

Abstract

Purpose

This study focuses on (re-)introducing computer simulation as a part of the research paradigm. Simulation is a widely applied research method in supply chain and operations management. However, leading journals, such as the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, have often been reluctant to accept simulation studies. This study provides guidelines on how to conduct simulation research that advances theory, is relevant, and matters.

Design/methodology/approach

This study pooled the viewpoints of the editorial team of the International Journal of Operations and Production Management and authors of simulation studies. The authors debated their views and outlined why simulation is important and what a compelling simulation should look like.

Findings

There is an increasing importance of considering uncertainty, an increasing interest in dynamic phenomena, such as the transient response(s) to disruptions, and an increasing need to consider complementary outcomes, such as sustainability, which many researchers believe can be tackled by big data and modern analytical tools. But building, elaborating, and testing theory by purposeful experimentation is the strength of computer simulation. The authors therefore argue that simulation should play an important role in supply chain and operations management research, but for this, it also has to evolve away from simply generating and analyzing data. Four types of simulation research with much promise are outlined: empirical grounded simulation, simulation that establishes causality, simulation that supplements machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics and simulation for sensitive environments.

Originality/value

This study identifies reasons why simulation is important for understanding and responding to today's business and societal challenges, it provides some guidance on how to design good simulation studies in this context and it links simulation to empirical research and theory going beyond multimethod studies.

Keywords

Citation

Melnyk, S.A., Thürer, M., Blome, C., Schoenherr, T. and Gold, S. (2024), "(Re)-discovering simulation as a critical element of OM/SCM research: call for research", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 44 No. 7, pp. 1376-1389. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-08-2023-0665

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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