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The big picture on supply chain integration – insights from a bibliometric analysis

Herbert Kotzab (Department of Logistics Management, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany and Othman Yeop Abdullan Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Malaysia)
Ilja Bäumler (University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)
Paul Gerken (University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 26 August 2021

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




Integration is a key element of supply chain management (SCM) and a lot of research has been executed within the field of supply chain integration (SCI). The purpose of this paper is to particularly identify the intellectual research front and foundation of SCI and how they developed over time.


The authors examined more than 1,700 peer-reviewed academic papers that were published between 1995 and 2019 in nearly 40 relevant peer-reviewed academic journals (all indexed in Web of Science). The authors analysed the structure of more than 55,000 individual references with the R-package bibliometrix and used VOSviewer for visualization.


The SCI research front is characterized by papers that show the effects of SCI on the firm performance, the consequences of SCI on SCM in general and present the enablers of SCI. The research front is embedded within the resource-based, transaction cost and contingency theory. The intellectual foundation refers to conceptual modelling, definitional clarification and integration dimensions. The research identifies Frohlich and Westbrook’s (2001) paper as the central reference for this research area. The dynamic evolution of the intellectual foundation of SCI changed from theorising in Phase 1 (1995–2006) towards empirical testing in Phase 2 (2007–2019).

Research limitations/implications

The results refer to the SCI discussion within a preselected number of peer-reviewed academic journals and to the data quality as provided by the Web of Science.


The study explored the research front and intellectual foundation of SCI. It reveals the most important papers and journals of this area by using bibliometric tools such as bibliometrix, biblioshiny and VOSviewer. The paper shows trends in research themes, theories and methodological developments.



Kotzab, H., Bäumler, I. and Gerken, P. (2023), "The big picture on supply chain integration – insights from a bibliometric analysis", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 25-54.



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