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A new methodology for supply chain management: discourse analysis and its potential for theoretical advancement

Hardy, Cynthia, Bhakoo, Vikram and Maguire, Steve 2020. A new methodology for supply chain management: discourse analysis and its potential for theoretical advancement. Journal of Supply Chain Management 56 (2) , pp. 19-35. 10.1111/jscm.12222
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This paper responds to recent calls for methodological diversification and ‘in-house’ theory development within the discipline of SCM, by introducing discourse analysis to readers of the Journal of Supply Chain Management. One of the merits of discourse analysis is the way in which it ‘problematizes’ taken-for-granted aspects of organizational life, including supply chains, to show that what we assume to be natural, inevitable and beneficial is rarely quite so straightforward as it may seem. In addition, through the way in which it emphasizes the interrogation of meaning, discourse analysis can broaden conceptualizations of the supply chain to include actors that have previously been overlooked, such as employees, workers, not-for-profit organizations, regulators, consumers and the media. Using examples that are familiar to SCM researchers – the discourses of lean, sustainability, modern slavery and big data – we illustrate how discourse analysis can help to theorize SCM phenomena by problematizing established meanings and revealing how they reproduce power relations among actors. We then show how insights from discourse analysis can complement existing theories of the supply chain and, in so doing, potentially rejuvenate the field of SCM by inspiring novel theory development, opening up different empirical settings, and promoting new ways of analyzing data.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1523-2409
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 8 February 2020
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2020 08:50

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