Career Patterns of Supply Chain Executives: An Optimal Matching Analysis

Christoph Flöthmann, Kai Hoberg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This exploratory study analyzes the careers of 307 supply chain executives (SCEs). Motivated by career theory, our findings create new knowledge about the educational backgrounds and career paths that lead to SCE positions. Based on an optimal matching analysis, we are able to distinguish among six career patterns for SCEs. They differ in terms of the individuals' previous professional experience, educational background, and the time they needed to arrive in an executive position. By characterizing the backgrounds and career paths of SCEs, we show that supply chain management (SCM) is truly a cross-functional profession. Our findings suggest that previous staff responsibility appears to be a more important hiring criterion than extensive SCM experience. While 56% of the executives had prior staff responsibility, only 12% of the cumulated careers were actually spent inside the SCM function.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Logistics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)35-54
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Career patterns
  • Supply chain management
  • Executives
  • Optimal matching analysis
  • Human resources

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