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A Balanced Approach to Research in Supply Chain Management

  • Susan L. Golicic
  • Donna F. Davis
  • Teresa M. McCarthy

Summary

When choosing a research strategy, there are tradeoffs in control, realism and generalizability. Quantitative research methods optimize control and generalizability (external validity), while qualitative research maximizes realism (internal validity). Logistics scholars agree that logistics and supply chain management are steeped in the positivist paradigm and that past research is primarily normative and quantitative. An imbalance exists in the conduct and publishing of rigorous qualitative research studies such as grounded theory, ethnography, phenomenology, semiotics, and historical analysis. At the same time, the business environment in which logistics and supply chain phenomena are located is becoming increasingly complex and less amenable to using just a quantitative approach. In order to accurately describe, truly understand and begin to explain these complex phenomena, research streams should include more studies using qualitative methods. Researchers who exclusively choose one approach or the other seriously delimit the scope of their inquiry and, thereby, their ability to contribute to the body of knowledge.

Keywords

Supply Chain Management Inductive Methodologies Deductive Methodologies Grounded Theory Content Analysis Survey Research Structural Equation Modeling 

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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan L. Golicic
    • 1
  • Donna F. Davis
    • 2
  • Teresa M. McCarthy
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marketing, Lundquist College of BusinessUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Area of MarketingRawls College of Business, Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  3. 3.Department of Management and MarketingCollege of Business and Economics, Lehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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