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Keywords:

  • behavioral operations;
  • behavioral supply management;
  • experimental design;
  • laboratory experiments;
  • research methods;
  • validation testing

The study of the nuances of human behavior in supply chain management (SCM) contexts and the behavioral reactions that accompany changes in operating policies has finally started to gain a strong headwind. This has come after several decades of operational modeling in which the behavior of the human actors, so critical to the mechanics of operating policies, has either been largely simplified or ignored. With the growth in joint work in experimental behavioral testing and improvements in behavioral codification, greater insight into the practicality of operational policies is now emerging. Yet in order to ensure such practicality, the rigor of this new joint experimentation needs to be ensured. While SCM researchers have a rich history in the rigor of artificial modeling, the sparse history of behavioral experimentation in SCM provides much less evidence of an understanding of what “rigor” with such methods entails. The purpose of this brief essay is to touch on some of the basic tenets of rigorous behavioral experimentation, and to hopefully promote such rigor in future SCM behavioral studies.