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Using a multiple-informant approach in SCM research

Lutz Kaufmann (WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar, Germany)
Aischa Astou Saw (WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar, Germany)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 1 July 2014




The purpose of this paper is to review the current state of survey-based SCM research that employs a multiple-informant perspective. Recommendations on how to rigorously conduct such research are developed, strengths and limitations discussed, and opportunities for advancing the discipline through this approach identified.


A systematic literature review (SLR) of 1,048 articles published in five leading SCM journals within a seven-year time frame is conducted.


The review shows that multiple-informant studies are still largely under-represented. Yet this approach more accurately depicts the multi-faceted nature of SCM. Specific requirements of this approach need to be considered throughout the research process, from unit of analysis, sampling frame, and data collection to analytic strategy.

Research limitations/implications

Taking into account the often complex, dynamic actor networks in which SCM phenomena are embedded may provide new insights, especially when controversial results have been found. This approach may also enrich the understanding of phenomena that have previously been examined only from a monadic perspective.


The paper examines the low incidence of multiple-informant survey research in SCM, discusses how its application can advance the field, and provides guidance on how to effectively apply this approach to more fully understand complex SCM phenomena. It further shows that studies using multiple informants yield novel theoretical insights and valuable recommendations for decision makers on how to use the interfaces between different actors across functional and organizational borders.



Kaufmann, L. and Astou Saw, A. (2014), "Using a multiple-informant approach in SCM research", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 511-527.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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