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Antecedents and dimensions of supply chain robustness: a systematic literature review

Christian F. Durach (Department of Logistics, Technical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany)
Andreas Wieland (Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark.)
Jose A.D. Machuca (Department of Financial Economics and Operations Management, University of Seville, Seville, Spain)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide groundwork for an emerging theory of supply chain robustness – which has been conceptualized as a dimension of supply chain resilience – through reviewing and synthesizing related yet disconnected studies. The paper develops a formal definition of supply chain robustness to build a framework that captures the dimensions, antecedents and moderators of the construct as discussed in the literature.


The authors apply a systematic literature review approach. In order to reduce researcher bias, they involve a team of academics, librarians and managers.


The paper first, provides a formal definition of supply chain robustness; second, builds a theoretical framework of supply chain robustness that augments both causal and descriptive knowledge; third,shows how findings in this review support practice; and fourth,reveals methodological insights on the use of journal rankings in reviews.

Research limitations/implications

At this stage, managers may benefit from seeing these relationships as clues derived from the literature. The paper is fundamentally a call for researchers to conduct quantitative testing of such relationships to derive more reliable understanding and practical applications.

Practical implications

Rather than presenting empirical findings, this paper reveals to managers that visibility, risk management orientation and reduced network complexity have been the main predictive antecedents of supply chain robustness (as discussed in the academic literature). This provides a potentially important signal as to where to invest resources.


The study is the first to develop a formal definition of supply chain robustness and to establish a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the construct.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the valuable comments and suggestions offered by the two anonymous reviewers who assessed the paper. They are similarly indebted to Professor Frank Straube, the librarians Beate Guba and Michael Loch, Dr Jane Lister (Liu Institute, UBC) for valuable insights, and all scholars and practitioners who participated in the review panel. The authors would also like to thank the participants of the EurOMA Conference 2013 for their valuable feedback on a previous version of this paper. This research has been partially done under the framework of the Funded research projects: P08 SEJ 3841 (Project of Excelence, Junta de Andalucia, Spain) and DPI 2009 11148 (MInistry of Economy and Competitiveness, Spain). The authors would also like to thank the Kuehne Foundation for the financial support of this research.


Durach, C.F., Wieland, A. and Machuca, J.A.D. (2015), "Antecedents and dimensions of supply chain robustness: a systematic literature review", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 45 No. 1/2, pp. 118-137.



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