The Future of Work and its Long-standing Supply Chain Implications: Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond

Opens 1st October 2024

Submit your paper here!


As we reflect and learn from this pandemic, and the devastating economic impact it had, supply chains are now focused on the critical issue of improving resilience and building up immunity to withstand potential large-scale disruptions of this nature in the future (Sodhi & Tang, 2020; Fayzei and Ghaderi, 2022). Part of this challenge will be finding effective ways to manage the risks associated with the need for in-person human labor, in critical roles that require them to be physically present at a particular location at a specific time (Hohenstein, 2022; El Baz, Ruel & Jebli, 2023; Ajmal et al., 2023). Outside of the obvious transport and logistics industries, supply chains employ millions of other workers in distributed networks around the world, in roles responsible for the sales, manufacture and procurement of products, parts, services and materials, required to fulfil the demands of customers (Devi et al., 2022; Kok and Akbari, 2023). 
At the same time, the new work from home (WFA) economy calls for a paradigm shift in the way supply chains operate, particularly models that better address surging volumes of home delivery and urban freight activity (Haghani et al., 2023; Garola et al., 2023). Therefore, the movement of people and goods in more flexible arrangements will be a key factor in the success of supply chains and the wider economy (Vuchkovski et al., 2023). 
With hybrid and flexible work arrangements (FWA) now the norm, we must not overlook the intricacies that could disrupt the established business models. Increased flexibility for workers often brings along greater complexity for managers (Hopkins, & McKay, 2014; Jena & Ghadge, 2021; Connell, Burgess & Larkin, 2023). Therefore, it is critical to uncover the underlying factors that are shaping the future of work and their long-standing implications for operations and supply chain practice (McPhail et al., 2024). 
This special issue aims to foster knowledge creation in the sphere of supply chain management and the future of work. Specifically, we seek studies that examine the link between FWA and the resilience challenges of modern supply chains, and how technologies and new business models could play a facilitating role. The editorial team welcomes both empirical and theoretical contributions employing a mixture of research methodologies. These include quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches. While high quality case studies and analytical work are welcomed, this special issue excludes studies that employ optimization and mathematical modelling methods.

List of Topic Areas

  • Supply chain skills and talent management for future ways of working, 
  • Last mile delivery and sustainable urban freight opportunities for flexible and on-demand workforces, 
  • The hidden and unwanted impacts of hybrid and flexible work arrangements for supply chain management practice, 
  • The design and adoption of new technologies for optimising hybrid and remote work models in supply chain management, 
  • Sustainability opportunities arising from flexible supply chain workforces, 
  • Lessons learnt from the pandemic to build resilient and future ready supply chain workforce, 
  • The impact of digitalisation on the future of work, including risks and benefits associated with increasing reliance on digital supply chain platforms,
  •  Coordination and collaboration issues associated with flexible and hybrid work models, 
  • Supply chain risks associated with workforce offshoring, 
  • Challenges associated with the slow 'return to office' for supply chain management in time of economic uncertainty.

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 01/10/2024 
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31/03/2025