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Supply chain management as the key to a firm’s strategy in the global marketplace: Trends and research agenda

Miguel Gonzalez-Loureiro (Business Management and Marketing, University of Vigo, Vigo, Spain)
Marina Dabic (Department of International Economics, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Timothy Kiessling (Faculty of Business Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the intersection of two literature streams: that of strategy and supply chain management (SCM). This review should create a better understanding of “strategic SCM” by focussing on relevant theories in the strategic management field and their intersection with SCM to develop a joint research agenda.


The authors conducted a correspondence analysis on the content of 3,402 articles from the top SCM journals. This analysis provides a map of the intellectual structure of content in this field to date. The key trends and changes were identified in strategic SCM research from 1990-2014 as well as the intersection with the key schools of strategic management.


The results suggest that SCM is key to a successful deployment of strategy for competing in the global marketplace. The main theoretical foundations for research in this field were identified and discussed. Gaps were detected and combinations of theoretical foundations of strategic management and SCM suggest four poles for future research: agents and focal firm; distributions and logistics strategic models; SCM competitive requirements; SCM relational governance.

Research limitations/implications

Scholars in both the strategy and the SCM fields continue to search for competitive advantages. Much recent research indicates that strategic SCM can be a critical source for that advantage. One of the limitations of the research is that the analysis does not include every journal that published an article mentioning SCM. However, the 34 journals selected are reputed to be the most influential on SCM and focussed primarily on SCM.

Practical implications

The map of the intellectual structure of research to strategic SCM highlights the need to combine different theoretical approaches to the complex phenomenon of SCM. Practitioners should consider the supply chain as an informal organization and should devote time and resources to build a shared advantage across the supply chain. They should also consider the inherent benefits and risks that sharing.


The paper demonstrates that strategic SCM needs a balanced and rigorous combination of theoretical approaches to deliver more theory-driven evidences. The research combines both a qualitative analysis and a quantitative methodology that summarizes gaps and then outlines future research from a large sample of articles. This methodology is an original contribution to this field and offers some assistance for enlarging the sample of future literature reviews.



Gonzalez-Loureiro, M., Dabic, M. and Kiessling, T. (2015), "Supply chain management as the key to a firm’s strategy in the global marketplace: Trends and research agenda", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 45 No. 1/2, pp. 159-181.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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