Research Collaboration Networks in the Field of Supply Chain Management
Writer：Marat Davletshin, University of Arkansas
Brian Fugate, University of Arkansas
Little is known about the patterns of research collaboration in the discipline of supply chain management (SCM). Yet, research collaboration has been credited as one of the primary process underlying the development of academic disciplines and producing and advancing scientific knowledge (Beaver and Rosen 1978, Crane 1972). As the discipline of SCM matures, research collaboration between scholars and institutions is rapidly increasing (Maloni et al. 2015; Giannakis 2012; Rao et al. 2013). This impacts both the discipline in general and individual scholars in particular. The discipline-wide outcomes of research collaboration include production of new knowledge. On the personal level, it leads to higher productivity. For example, research collaboration allows scholars to export broader, more comprehensive, and more complex issues. It provides the multiplicity of viewpoints leading to stronger arguments. It also gives scholars an opportunity to work on several projects simultaneously and make progress more rapidly.
As the field of Supply Chain Management (SCM) continues to grow, an increasing share of articles published in SCM journals is authored by new SCM faculty as well as researchers from other disciplines. SCM scholars are increasingly collaboration across institutions, disciplines, and countries (Maloni et al.2015, Liao-Troth et al. 2012). SCM researchers have long been interested in exploring this evolution by studying the dynamics of the discipline’s social life and the patterns of interactions among SCM scholars. The earliest of such studies, Autry and Griffis (2005), applied social network theory to explore the evolving collaboration network in logistics research. Further, Carter et al. (2003) used social network methods to conduct a citation analysis of the Journal of Supply Chain Management. Cantor et al. (2010) employed econometric analysis of bibliometric data to examine the relationship between collaboration and research citation impact. The time has come to reexamine the field’s evolution in light of its growth in the recent decade.
This study sets out to address this need to continue exploring the dynamics of SCM intellectual structure and research collaboration patterns among SCM scholars. To this end, our study pursues the following research objectives: (1) to explore the evolution of co-authorship networks in the field of SCM over time; (2) to identify and visualize the structural characteristics of these networks; (3) to compare the structural characteristics of SCM co-authorship networks with those of other disciplines, and (4) to identify central researchers and institutions in the field of SCM.
In our study, the accent is on the dynamics of evolution. The SCM co-authorship networks constantly expand by the addition of new authors and new links between those who are already part of the field. Essentially, this dynamical growth process determines the structure of the co-authorship networks in SCM. Extant studies of the SCM field, however, focus primary on the static properties of the collaboration networks. In contrast, this investigates the dynamical properties of these networks to explain many of the static structural features of co-authorship networks observed in earlier studies.