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The Use of Social Media in Operations and Supply Chain Management

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Operations & Production Management

Guest Editors
Professor T. C. E. Cheng (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Dr Hugo K. S. Lam (University of Liverpool)
Professor Andrew C. Lyons (University of Liverpool)
Professor Andy C. L. Yeung (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) [Managing Guest Editor]
Social media include a group of Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook and Twitter that “allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010, p. 61). Although many social media sites were originally designed for individuals to connect with friends, classmates, and relatives, the usage of these sites has moved beyond personal communication and individual interactions over the past few years. While the recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal demonstrates how social media can be used for political purposes (Osborne and Parkinson, 2018), social media in fact have been widely used in different business areas including operations and supply chain management (OSCM) (Lam et al., 2016). For instance, Unisys, a global IT firm, launched an internal social media platform called My Site to enable its employees across the world to “talk about the work they are doing, ask questions to each other, and share best practices” (Roy, 2010). On the other hand, Arrow, an electronic component provider, introduced an external social media platform called Virtual Bench to allow its resellers to “collaborate with other resellers on new sales and projects, or find a reseller or partner with complimentary specialization for other joint solutions” (Courbanou, 2011). 

Such innovative and varied uses of social media have received significant attention from the academic community in recent years, as reflected in a number of related special issues published in top business journals (e.g., Aral et al., 2013; Fader et al., 2012). Indeed, as Aral et al. (2013) noted, social media “represent one of the most transformative impacts of information technology on business, both within and outside firm boundaries” (p. 3), providing a unique opportunity for researchers to challenge our assumptions and thus advance our understanding of technology adoption within and across organizations. For instance, within organizations, social media transform the way employees connect, communicate, collaborate, and exchange information and knowledge with one another across functional departments and geographic locations, providing new implications for operations and innovation management (Lam et al., 2016; Leonardi, 2014; Neeley and Leonardi, 2018). On the other hand, social media have the potential to redefine how firms relate to customers, suppliers, and other parties along their supply chains, leading to new collaboration opportunities as well as unprecedented operational challenges (Lee et al., 2015; Schoenherr, 2015; Stephen and Toubia, 2010). The advancement of social media technologies also enables researchers to re-visit the underlying assumptions of some well-established literature such as social network analysis that was developed mainly via the studies of offline social networks (Levina and Arriaga, 2014; Kane et al., 2014a).

However, compared with other business disciplines such as marketing and information systems, the operations management (OM) research community is relatively silent about this emerging social media phenomenon. A search across the top three OM journals, i.e., Journal of Operations Management (JOM), International Journal of Operations and Production Management (IJOPM), and Production and Operations Management (POM) (Chartered Association of Business Schools, 2018), can identify only nine social media-focused papers published as of 2017. Such a lack of relevant OM research is inconsistent with the current wide adoption of social media for OSCM. For instance, a recent survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review suggests that 87% of maturing companies use social media to spur innovation while 60% integrate them into operations (Kane et al., 2014b). Some practitioners also view social media adoption in supply chains as one of the top trends in SCM for the coming decade (Barnawal, 2014; Sengupta, 2013). Therefore, there is an urgent need for the OM research community to bridge this huge gap between research and practice regarding the use of social media in OSCM. 

Considering the importance of social media for OSCM and a lack of relevant research in the OM literature, this special issue aims to stimulate more original, rigorous, and relevant research on the use of social media in OSCM. In particular, this special issue welcomes submissions adopting theoretical perspectives from other disciplines (e.g., communication, psychology, strategy, marketing, information systems) or developing new theoretical arguments, to challenge our assumptions and thus advance our understanding of the use of social media in OSCM. While this special issue welcomes submissions employing any empirical methods such as case study, survey, experiment, and secondary data, all submissions should pay close attention to the rigour of their research methods and address potential methodological concerns such as common method bias and endogeneity issues. Those concerns are particularly valid for the research context of this special issue as the use of social media in OSCM can be a self-selected, endogenous decision. Finally, although this special issue is open to any theoretical perspective and empirical approach, all the submissions should make it clear that their contributions are relevant to OSCM and fit the scope of IJOPM.

Topics of Interest
This special issue is open to any research topic related to the use of social media in OSCM. Sample topics include, but are not limited to:
•    The drivers for individuals, firms, and/or supply chains to use social media in OSCM.
•    The impacts of using social media in OSCM on the performance of individuals, firms, and/or supply chains.
•    The unintended or unanticipated consequences of using social media in OSCM.
•    The application of multiple theories or the development of new theoretical perspectives to explain the use of social media in OSCM.
•    Multi-level analysis of the use of social media in OSCM (e.g., individual, team, firm, supply chain, industry).
•    Risks associated with using social media in OSCM and the strategies to address such risks.
•    Ethical and governance issues related to the use of social media in OSCM.
•    The dark sides of using social media in OSCM.
•    The use of social media for new product development and innovation management.
•    Behavioural dynamics among employees, buyers, suppliers, and/or other parties involved in using social media for OSCM.
•    The integration of social media with firms’ existing OSCM systems such as ERP, CRM, and SCM systems.
•    Approaches to leverage social media data to inform OSCM decisions such as demand forecasting and inventory management.

Publication Schedule
Deadline for paper submission: 30 April 2019
Reviewer first reports: 30 June 2019
Revised paper submissions: 30 September 2019
Reviewer second reports: 31 October 2019
Accepted papers would be online first around 30 days after acceptance. This special issue will be published in 2020.

Short Biographies of the Guest Editors
Professor T. C. E. Cheng
Professor Cheng is Dean of the Faculty of Business, Fung Yiu King – Wing Hang Bank Professor in Business Administration, and Chair Professor of Management in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He obtained his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the Universities of Hong Kong, Birmingham, and Cambridge, respectively. He has previously taught in Canada, England, and Singapore. His research interests include e-business and e-commerce, information systems management, innovation and technology management, operations management, quality management, scheduling science, and supply chain management. He has been rated as the most prolific OM researcher in the world over the period 1985-2010 (Shang et al., 2015) and the most prominent OM researcher in Asia (in terms of Bonacich power centrality) over the period 2001-2015 (Babbar et al., 2017). His research has been published in various top business journals such as Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Production and Operations Management, Management Science, Operations Research, MIS Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems, and Organization Science. He is an Editor of International Journal of Production Economics and co-edited a special issue for Production and Operations Management in 2016. He was an advisory board member of International Journal of Operations and Production Management from 1990-2018.

Dr Hugo K. S. Lam
Dr Lam is a Lecturer in Operations Management in the University of Liverpool Management School. He obtained his PhD in Operations Management from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Prior to his PhD studies, he had worked in a FTSE 100 company as a Lead Engineer for several years. His research is focused on operations and technology management with related works published or forthcoming in Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, and International Journal of Production Economics. In particular, his recent paper published in Journal of Operations Management (Lam et al., 2016) investigates the operational consequences of adopting social media in organizations, representing one of the earliest social media-focused papers published in this top OM journal.  

Professor Andrew C. Lyons
Professor Lyons is Professor of Operations & Supply Chain Management in the University of Liverpool Management School and Head of the Marketing & Operations Department. Professor Lyons has led major research and knowledge exchange projects funded by the EPSRC, EC, ERDF, TSB and UK Ministry of Defence. He has published over 50 articles in the areas of operations and supply chain management in journals such as International Journal of Operations and Production Management, International Journal of Production Economics, and Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, and is a visiting professor at the Universities of Valencia and Grenoble. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Logistics: Research & Applications.

Professor Andy C. L. Yeung [Managing Guest Editor]
Professor Yeung is Chair Professor of Operations Management and Head of the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He obtained his PhD from The University of Hong Kong. His research covers various OM areas such as innovation management, technology management, quality management, and supply chain management. His research has been published in top business journals such as Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Production and Operations Management, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, and Organization Science. Professor Yeung has been an Associate Editor of Journal of Operations Management since 2012 and received the Best Associate Editor Award in 2013. He co-edited a special issue for Journal of Operations Management in 2016. 

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