STUDYING SUPPLY CHAINS FROM A SOCIAL NETWORK PERSPECTIVE

Authors


  • Acknowledgments: I would like to thank Craig Carter and Skye Bender-deMoll for their useful comments on this essay.

Abstract

Social networks often exist among individuals who are boundary spanners in an interorganizational network. These relationships are critical in explaining why interorganizational networks are formed, disintegrate, and succeed or fail. Trust is central in most theories of social network effectiveness, and it should also be true in supply chain networks. This article proposes that supply chain architects consider supply chains that exhibit small world properties. This optimizes trust within the clique, but enables predictions and innovations to “hop” across cliques to other regions in the supply chain. The article concludes by proposing that networks should be studied over time and not as stagnant structures, and highlights a new methodology (SoNIA) for this.

Ancillary