A Guided Tour Through the Qualitative Research City

Andreas Wieland*, Wendy L. Tate, Tingting Yan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This article argues for the expansion of qualitative research approaches in supply chain management (SCM). By comparing mainstream qualitative approaches to popular Parisian landmarks, it argues that just as tourists can miss the city's essence by visiting only famous sites, SCM researchers limit their understanding by relying solely on conventional approaches. It emphasizes that, much like exploring lesser-known parts of a city, incorporating diverse qualitative approaches can enrich SCM research. Highlighting the dominance of realist and positivist approaches, the article calls for greater inclusion of nominalist and anti-positivist approaches. It introduces different “buildings” of qualitative research (grounded theory, interpretive research, sensemaking, sociomateriality, actor–network theory, ethnography, action research, discourse analysis, narrative research, and historical research), each offering unique insights into SCM. The article argues that embracing these diverse approaches can lead to a deeper understanding of complex global supply chain phenomena and encourage innovative theoretical development, thereby broadening the scope and impact of the discipline.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Supply Chain Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Published online: 8 January 2024.


  • Methodology
  • Qualitative research
  • Research approaches

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