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Resilience in global supply chains: analysis of responses, recovery actions and strategic changes triggered by major disruptions

Maria Holgado (Department of Management, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)
Alexander Niess (Department of Management, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 8 June 2023

Issue publication date: 13 November 2023




Are major and frequent disruptions transforming global supply chains? This study aims to investigate how multinational companies (MNCs) are responding to the phenomenon of accumulated major disruptions in recent years and plausible new paradigm of unstable conditions and environmental uncertainty from a supply chain resilience (SCRES) perspective.


Following an inductive interpretivist approach based on interpretive phenomenology, this study gathers insights from ten MNCs supply chain managers and international consultants who participated as key informants via semi-structured interviews, sharing their experience of the phenomenon. Additionally, secondary sources such as press releases, media articles and industry reports were used for data collection.


Findings include five categories of recovery actions, i.e. levelling, rationing, buffering, bridging and boundary redefining, key strategic changes in competitive priorities, internal organisation and coordination structures, and a hierarchy between SCRES characteristics, integrated in an empirically derived conceptual framework connecting these constructs. This contributes to middle-range theories within SCRES body of knowledge. The authors also identify a set of areas for future SCRES research.

Practical implications

Findings can support MNCs’ supply chain professionals in designing and managing resilient global supply chains, based on learnings from the recent highly disruptive environment, particularly, regarding recovery actions and resilience-building strategic changes contributing to agility and robustness in global supply chains.


Non-positivist interpretive and inductive works are scarce in SCRES research. By adopting this novel approach for this field, the authors broadened the categorisation of responses used in previous works and identified prominent strategic changes and SCRES characteristics and relations among constructs, thus bringing conceptual clarity to SCRES research within the context of the study.



Holgado, M. and Niess, A. (2023), "Resilience in global supply chains: analysis of responses, recovery actions and strategic changes triggered by major disruptions", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 1040-1059.



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