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Conceptualising, Defining and Remodelling Supply Chain Management; An Objective-Oriented Grounded Theory Approach

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posted on 15.11.2018 by Hussain Alkebaisi

Technical paper presented at the 2018 Defence and Security Doctoral Symposium.

Although it has been more than three decades since the concept of Supply Chain Management (SCM) was first introduced, there are still significant attempts at, and a call for conceptualising, defining, remodelling and identifying the theory behind it. There is no consensus in the literature on a concise and precise definition of SCM. A rigorous theoretical framework has not yet been developed; the existing models like Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) and the Global Supply Chain Forum (GSCF) models lack the details called for in a holistic model that encompasses the essence of SCM and integrates the best features of the existing models and covers their shortcomings.

The argument in the literature is that: “research and practice would be improved if a single definition were adopted” (Mentzer et al., 2001); “closing the gap between SCM theory and actual practice would be the development of a single, unifying SCM framework that both incorporates the best aspects of the existing, widely used frameworks and addresses their current limitations” (Moberg et al., 2008).

The literature has shown that most of the research methods and approaches which were used to solve these issues were process-oriented or business functions-oriented (Object-Oriented), that is, the focus was on what firms and organisations are doing, where they do it, or how they do it. However, there is no evidence in the literature that an Objective-Oriented approach has been investigated in resolving those theoretical issues, nor the Grounded Theory research methodology has been applied to that end. Some research papers, for instance, recommended the use of the Grounded Theory research methodology as it could lead to theorising SCM. Therefore, this research focuses on the application of the Grounded Theory research method through an Objective-Oriented line-by-line coding system which will employ multiple data resources including the literature, websites, recorded lectures and recorded interviews.

This paper/presentation aims to introduce the gap identified in the literature as reported above to study to what extent the novel approach (Objective-Oriented Grounded Theory Approach) could contribute to resolving the use of a single framework approach that can be applied to multiple sectors. Through this approach, the researcher will be able to: conceptualise SCM, identify the theory behind it, define the concept precisely and concisely and develop a unified model that visualises SCM.

Keywords – Supply chain management, Constructivist Grounded Theory, Objective-Oriented approach, Supply chain Management Conceptual Model.


Mentzer, et al. (2001) ‘Defining Supply Chain Management’, Journal of Business Logistics, 22(2), pp. 1–25. doi: 10.1002/j.2158-1592.2001.tb00001.x.

Moberg, et al. (2008) Time to Remodel, CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly. Available at: http://www.supplychainquarterly.com/print/scq200803scmmodel/ (Accessed: 15 November 2017).


Bahrain Defence Force, Kingdom of Bahrain


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