Antecedents and dimensions of supply chain robustness: a systematic literature review
International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Structured Abstract: Purpose -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 resiliencethrough 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. Design/methodology/approach -The
... thors apply a systematic literature review approach. In order to reduce researcher bias, they involve a team of academics, librarians and managers. Findings -The paper (1) provides a formal definition of supply chain robustness, (2) builds a theoretical framework of supply chain robustness that augments both causal and descriptive knowledge, (3) shows how findings in this review support practice and (4) 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. Originality/value -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. ). Increased bargaining power is thus argued to raise the probability of opportunistic behavior among supply chain members -behavior that is detrimental to the network's capability to cope with changes (Jüttner and Maklan, 2011). However, bargaining power can also function as an enhancer of inter-organizational robustness. As noted by Williamson (2008), taking advantage of one's own bargaining power is a m yopic and sometimes inefficient behavior. If a node experiences increased bargaining power, it has the opportunity to play a vital role in increasing the robustness of the entire network. The node then forms a "benevolent dictator", an approach that is based not on good will (Hofmann, 2011), but aims to decrease the vulnerability of supply chain partners for the good of the "dictator" organization. It is therefore argued that the relative bargaining power of a firm can have a two-sided impact on inter-organizational robustness. Proposition 6a: Supply chains with increased relative bargaining power of s ingle nodes can be detrimental for inter-organizational robustness if the powerful node is not willing to sup port its supply chain partners. Proposition 6b: Supply chains with increased relative bargaining power of s ingle nodes enable an increased inter-organizational robustness if the powerful node sees the long-term benefit of its act ivity and is thus willing to support its supply chain partners. Visibility Christopher and Lee (2004) suggest that a key element in any strategy to mitigate supply chain risks is improved visibility. The reviewed research that discusses visibility does this from either a relational or network structure perspective. Relational aspects among supply chain members and their resulting impacts are subject of discussion in multiple studies (e.g., Lavastre et al., 2012; Whipple and Roh, 2010) . Lavastre et al. (2012) suggest that efforts to im prove supply chain visibility through the sharing of risk-related information leads to increased supply chain risk avoidance, thus a compatible IT infrastructure can function as a key facilitator for information exchange among partners (Hall et al., 2012; Speier et al., 2011) . The reviewed literature also makes clear that information exchange at the lower echelons of relationships most effectively enables inter-organizational robustness. Wieland and Wallenburg (2013) empirically demonstrate that both communicative and cooperative relationships have positive influences on supply chain robustness.