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Supply Chain Uncertainty: A Review and Theoretical Foundation for Future Research

Research output: Working paper

Publication date2010
Place of PublicationLancaster University
PublisherThe Department of Management Science
Number of pages0
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameManagement Science Working Paper Series


Supply chain uncertainty is an issue with which every practicing manager wrestles, deriving from the increasing complexity of global supply networks. Taking a broad view of supply chain uncertainty (incorporating supply chain risk), this paper seeks to review the literature in this area and develop a theoretical foundation for future research. The literature review identifies a comprehensive list of fourteen sources of uncertainty, including those that have received much research attention, such as the bullwhip effect, and those more recently described, such as parallel interaction. Approaches to managing these sources of uncertainty are classified into: ten approaches that seek to reduce uncertainty at its source; and, eleven approaches that seek to cope with it thereby minimising its impact on performance. Manufacturing strategy theory, including the concepts of alignment and contingency, is then used to develop a model of supply chain uncertainty, which is populated using the literature review to show alignment between uncertainty sources and management strategies. Future research proposed includes more empirical research in order to further investigate: which uncertainties occur in particular industrial contexts; the impact of appropriate sources/management strategy alignment on performance; and the complex interplay between management strategies and multiple sources of uncertainty (positive or negative).