Mapping the Landscape of Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management

Andreas Wieland, Robert Handfield, Christian F. Durach

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Supply chain researchers are confronted with a dizzying array of research questions, many of which are not mutually independent. This research was motivated by the need to map the landscape of research themes, identify potential overlapping areas and interactions, and provide guidelines on areas of focus for researchers to pursue. We conducted a three-phase research study, beginning with an open-ended collection of opinions on research themes collected from 102 supply chain management (SCM) researchers, followed by an evaluation of a consolidated list of themes by 141 SCM researchers. These results were then reviewed by 10 SCM scholars. Potential interactions and areas of overlap were identified, classified, and integrated into a compelling set of ideas for future research in the field of SCM. We believe these ideas provide a forward-looking view on those themes that will become important, as well as those that researchers believe should be focused on. While areas of research deemed to become most important include big data and analytics, the most under-researched areas include efforts that target the “people dimension” of SCM, ethical issues and internal integration. The themes are discussed in the context of current developments that the authors believe will provide a valuable foundation for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Logistics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Survey
  • Research themes
  • Research trends
  • Supply chain management

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