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Journal of Supply Chain Management

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Supply Chain Management -- analysis


Increased globalization, varying customer requirements, extended product lines, uncertainty regarding supplier performance, and myriad related factors make supply chains utterly complex. While previous research indicates that supply chain complexity plays an important role in explaining performance outcomes, the accumulating evidence is ambiguous. Thus, a finer-grained analysis is required. By meta-analyzing 27,668 observations across 102 independent samples from 123 empirical studies, we examine the link between supply chain complexity and firm performance. While the preponderance of evidence from previous studies identifies supply chain complexity as detrimental to firm performance, our results illustrate that although supply chain complexity has a negative effect on operational performance, it has a positive effect on innovation performance and financial performance. Furthermore, we also distinguish among different levels of supply chain (i.e., upstream, downstream, and internal) and observe nuanced findings. Finally, our findings also reveal moderating effects of construct operationalization and study design characteristics. We discuss implications for theory and practice and provide avenues for future research.


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