Disentangling supply chain management competencies and their impact on performance: A knowledge-based view

Christoph Flöthmann (Operations Consulting, KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Hamburg, Germany)
Kai Hoberg (Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany)
Britta Gammelgaard (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Publication date: 2 July 2018



The purpose of this paper is to extend the understanding of supply chain management (SCM) competencies by splitting them into individual and organizational components and measuring their impact on SCM performance.


Hypothesized relationships are tested using structural equation modeling and bootstrapping mediation analysis based on a multi-national survey with 273 managers while drawing on the theory of knowledge management and literature streams of individual competencies in the fields of SCM and human resource management (HRM), respectively.


The analysis reveals that individual SCM competencies and organizational SCM knowledge positively influence SCM performance to a similar magnitude. Moreover, organizational learning enhances individual competencies and organizational knowledge significantly and equally while corporate training programs fall surprisingly short of expectations. The disentanglement of SCM competencies renders HRM’s contribution to SCM visible by revealing the impact of HRM and learning practices on competencies, knowledge, and performance.

Research limitations/implications

To validate the findings, future research could apply different research methods such as case studies and focus on more countries to reduce potential methodological and regional biases.

Practical implications

The results suggest that corporate training programs need further development. Organizational learning’s strong direct and indirect effects have two main implications: first, it should serve as motivation for organizations to constantly improve their learning capabilities. Second, these only tap its true potential for enhancing SCM performance if they first elevate individual competencies and organizational knowledge.


This is the first paper to distinguish between individual competencies and organizational knowledge on finely nuanced levels. While the organizational knowledge level effect on performance has been studied before, this paper extends this effect to also hold true for the individual level.



Flöthmann, C., Hoberg, K. and Gammelgaard, B. (2018), "Disentangling supply chain management competencies and their impact on performance: A knowledge-based view", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 48 No. 6, pp. 630-655. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2017-0120



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