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Evolving Functional Perspectives Within Supply Chain Management



Since its introduction over three decades ago, the field of supply chain management (SCM) has undergone numerous transformations. Today it is a prevailing theme in scholarly and popular research, and numerous disparate disciplines claim its ownership. Despite the field's evolution there continues to be little agreement on the domain and unifying theory of SCM, as well as a consensus definition. The result has been a lack of clarity as to the scope of SCM, “siloed” research methodologies, and parallel research efforts. We interviewed 50 academic scholars across disciplines, as well as 20 SCM business executives, to extract commonality of opinion and discuss the future of SCM. The most important of these findings are the identification of “common ground” regarding the definition and scope of SCM, establishment of the need for interdisciplinary research, the recognition of the existence of “inner” and “outer core” functions central to SCM, and the nature of functional involvement in interdisciplinary research. In this paper we present these findings and provide a path forward based on the collective wisdom of these scholars and executives.

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