Emerging Discourse Incubator:
Research where the focal actor in the network is not a for-profit firm
As part of its strategy of stimulating rigorous empirical research that contributes to theory on topics that have not yet garnered the attention they merit, the Journal of Supply Chain Management is launching a new Emerging Discourse Incubator (EDI). While the goal is similar to that of a special issue or special topic forum, the EDI format will allow the discourse on an emerging topic to develop over more than a year, beginning with invited papers from eminent scholars and emerging researchers in the first issue, followed by submitted articles in subsequent issues. The longer timeframe will lead to deeper insights and provide a stronger foundation for future research.
The topic for the first EDI is research where the focal actor in a supply network is not a for-profit firm. The goal is to incubate a discourse where organizations such as NGOs, regulators, and the like are viewed as managers of their own supply networks, rather than as non-traditional members of other firms’ networks. While these networks may contain for-profit firms, the focus is on managing them from the perspective of organizations whose main motivation is not profit maximization (Carter, et al., 2015; Pagell & Wu, 2009).
With the exception of humanitarian logistics, SCM research is almost always based on a for-profit firm as the focal actor in the network, typically with the explicit aim of increasing its profits. This is a major oversight, since actors such as NGOs also manage supply chains, thus, perspectives other than maximizing one actor’s profits may be more relevant (Pagell & Shevchenko, 2014). For example, Rodríguez et al., (2016) describe how NGOs use traditional supply chain management practices to alleviate poverty. NGOs and the like are expected to develop unique practices, due to their motivation and resources (Rodriguez, et al., 2016). Research needs to explore this, in order to both improve management of these actors’ networks and enable for-profit firms to better achieve their sustainability goals. Thus, the goal of this EDI is to expand our knowledge so that the SCM field is of value to all organizations involved in managing a supply network.
We will consider all research addressing supply chains from this perspective that advances JSCM’s mission of publishing high-quality, high-impact behavioral research focusing on theory building and empirical methodologies. Potential focal actors include:
• Social ventures, B-corporations and other organizations for which profitability matters, but is not the primary goal
• Regulators and other governmental entities
• Co-ops and other collectives
• The communities and natural systems where for-profit ventures operate
Topics include, but are not limited to, questions such as:
• When and how can traditional SCM practices be adopted, when the focal actor in the network is not motivated primarily by profit?
• Which unique or presently unknown practices do these actors use to achieve their goals? Can these practices enable for-profit firms achieve their sustainability goals?
• Are the networks these actors construct different from networks constructed by for-profit firms? Does this have implications for their effectiveness?
• How does a focal actor with limited financial resources govern its network, especially if it contains powerful for-profit entities and or firms with different motivations?
All submissions are expected to make a contribution to theory; we envisage that exploring these focal actors will offer rich opportunities to elaborate on existing theory or build new theory. At a minimum, by expanding research to consider new actors, all submissions should explicate boundary conditions, laying a foundation for further theoretical development.
June, 2017 Initial call for submissions
June, 2017-December 2017 Submissions to the EDI are welcomed, as well as regular submissions
January, 2018 Invited papers that will be published in the first issue will appear on-line, initiating the discourse
January-December, 2018 As papers related to the EDI are accepted, they will be published online, followed by publication in the journal
For additional details please click here.