Guest Post: Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management
What are the future dominant research themes in supply chain management? With my coathors Robert Handfield and Christian Durach, our new article, “Mapping the Landscape of Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management” (see Journal of Business Logistics, Aug., 2016), answers the question. The results are based on survey data collected from 141 leading academics from the SCM discipline.
The respondents were presented a list with 35 topics that are potentially important in SCM. They were then asked to assess to what level they believe these topics will become important in the next years and to what level they think these topics should become important. The will– and should-become-important top 10 lists do not differ substantially. Both of them include the following topics: sustainability & green issues, analytics, risk management & disruption, health care, and innovation. Interestingly, big data, the topic ranked 1st on the will-become-important top 10 list, does not appear on the should-become-important top 10 list. Instead, the people dimension of SCM appears in the should-become-important top 10 list.
We also calculated the differences between the will- and should-become-important survey data. We find that the people dimension of SCM, ethical issues, internal integration, transparency/visibility, and human capital/talent management are the five topics that are expected to be most under researched in the next couple of years. So, if you are planning to start a new research project or a Ph.D. related to SCM, these topics could be good choices. On the other end, big data and analytics turn out to be the topics that are expected to be most over researched.
We also linked the topics that top the should-become-important list to each other. This has led to a table containing ideas that could lead to innovative and cross-disciplinary research questions.