Rethinking Resilience in Today’s Complex, Interconnected World: Linking Supply Chain Resilience Research with Other Disciplines

Call for papers for: International Journal of Operations & Production Management

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Submissions Open: 9th November 2021

Submissions Deadline: 1st March 2022


Given the critical importance of resilience in today’s complex, interconnected world, this special issue seeks to motivate making connections with other fields, where resilience has been also studied, to further our understanding of resilience within the operations and supply chain management (O&SCM) community. Theoretical and practical insights that have been developed in disciplines such as ecology, engineering & technology, and urban planning offer a unique and useful opportunity for advancing our understanding of supply chain resilience.

Supply chain resilience has long been an important topic to managers and researchers alike. This awareness has been heightened due to recent developments and globally significant events, namely:

  • The ongoing climate and biodiversity crises, which are a result of emissions and land use that occur across global supply chains and, at the same time, have profound impacts on current and future supply chains and their management (e.g., Alvarez et al., 2018; Crippa et al., 2021).
  • Cyberattacks, including the SolarWinds cyber-breach of December 14, 2020, which affected over 18,000 organisations including several major American Federal agencies (Jibillian, 2020; Mandia, 2020).
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting global supply shortages (of car parts, disinfectants, even yeast), which have highlighted the fragilities of supply chains and the need for greater resilience.
  • Brexit and its creation of supply chain uncertainties (e.g. Hendry et al., 2019; Roscoe et al., 2020) around logistics lead times, work force availability, trade tariffs, product standards and many other areas of operations and supply chain management.
  • The recent computer chip shortage that has plagued many car manufactures. Some companies turned out to be less vulnerable, which was attributed to their resilience – a resilience built on having visibility throughout the entire supply chain (Ellis, 2021).

These developments remind managers and researchers that building resilience in supply chains is critical, evolving and more widespread. It is extending beyond the bounds of dealing with disruptions caused by financial crisis or limited to specific geographical areas to encompass new developments related to sustainability, cybersecurity and politics. Furthermore, it has been recognised that we must address issues of multi-tier supply chain management (Mena et al., 2013; Tachizawa and Wong, 2014; Sarkis et al., 2019), and that supply chains are part of even larger interconnected networks and systems (e.g. Goldin et al., 2014; Tukamuhabwa et al., 2015). For example, research has demonstrated that the resilience strategies employed in one part of the larger system can have adverse implications for other parts of the system, including the phenomenon of risk migration whereby threats shift from one node to another (Tukamuhabwa et al., 2017).

Resilience connects O&SCM to many other fields with a much richer history of research on resilience, including ecology (Gunderson and Holling, 2002; Folke, 2006; Schultz and Lundholm, 2010), psychology (Bonanno, 2004), urban and regional planning (Davoudi, 2012; Coaffee and Lee, 2016), technology, engineering, economic geography (Simmie and Martin, 2010), disaster risk studies (Vale and Campanella, 2005) and others (Walker, 2020). It can be argued that, by connecting with these other fields, it is possible to further improve O&SCM research on supply chain resilience (Wieland and Durach, 2021). This would enable a rethinking of resilience in the field of O&SCM and in the context of today’s complex and interconnected world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of connecting supply chain research with other fields (Wieland, 2021). For example, agile supply chains have played a critical role in supporting national vaccine rollouts, while some firms have also played an important civic role by supporting their local communities. At the same time, the pandemic is a result of environmental degradation, wildlife trade and global connectivity – closer interactions between people, livestock and wildlife expose humans to novel viruses, which spread rapidly across the world (Gottdencker et al., 2014). The environment has likely benefited from temporarily reduced global production, while many firms have survived periods of lockdown by capitalising on governmental furlough schemes. We have also seen the value of preparedness, with those firms that transformed their operations prior to the pandemic being less affected by COVID-19, and thus better positioned to capitalise on emerging market opportunities. In short, given the growing connections and interdependence between O&SCM and broader social, ecological and political contexts, the time is right to advance our understanding of resilience and its application in O&SCM.


This special issue seeks to provide a forum for advancing the domain of supply chain resilience, both practically and theoretically, building on fifteen years of research on supply chain resilience. The special issue has three main objectives. First, to determine the current state of the art. Second, to identify the knowledge gaps and develop a research agenda for advancing the debate in both practitioner and academic communities. Third, to forge links between the literature on supply chain resilience and that of resilience in other fields (e.g. ecology, urban studies). This will help to further the O&SCM community’s understanding of what it means to be resilient.

Potential Topics

  • In contrast to other special issues on resilience in the O&SCM literature, this special issue aims to move  beyond O&SCM research. It seeks to advance the body of knowledge from the perspective that supply chain resilience can best be understood by recognising the context in which a supply chain is embedded and the connections between the supply chain and the broader environment. Furthermore, resilience is an inherently dynamic concept, thus demanding a periodic reassessment of the “state of the art” in terms of research and management practice with the goal of uncovering the critical emerging, but unaddressed, research challenges. We therefore welcome contributions that address the following and other related topics: Papers that examine resilience in contexts that are currently under-represented in the literature (e.g. different organisational types, industries or countries that are not typically covered in the existing literature).
  • Cross-disciplinary research, e.g. in relation to marketing, organisational behaviour, finance, knowledge management, or economics.
  • Inter-disciplinary research that connects supply chains and supply chain resilience research with the broader environment and with other fields, such as ecology, Earth system science, social innovation, engineering, and urban planning.
  • Papers that interpret the supply chain as an open and complex system that interacts with other systems, such as the political economy, society, or planet Earth. Such papers might examine the interconnectedness between supply chain resilience and other forms of resilience, such as climate resilience.
  • Papers that engage with and advance the understanding of the concept of resilience, its multiple meanings and ways of measuring it, again potentially by drawing on insights from other fields and disciplines.
  • Papers on the link between national policy, politics and resilience.
  • Papers that explore behavioural aspects of resilience – that is, papers that touch on topics such as trust, supplier relations, and how to manage resilience beyond the first tier (so that lower tier firms are involved).
  • Papers that gain new insights into supply chain resilience using novel theory frames, such as panarchy theory (e.g. Wieland, 2021), providing new perspectives that either complement or challenge findings from earlier studies using more established theory frames, e.g. complex adaptive systems theory (Day, 2014; Novak et al., 2021).
  • Papers that deal with important, topical phenomena such as cyber resilience.

The intention is to publish leading-edge, innovative research that can significantly advance the O&SCM discipline, both theoretically and practically. The special issue is open to studies in both manufacturing and service industry sectors and in both private and public settings. Further, the emphasis will be on the appropriate use of conceptual and empirically based modes of enquiry using suitable research frameworks. We particularly encourage researchers to conduct non-positivist research (e.g. interpretivism and critical theory). We are open to receiving papers of all types – including research papers, viewpoint papers, and impact pathway papers.

Key Dates and Submissions Information­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Submissions Open: 9th November 2021

Submissions Deadline: 1st March 2022

Submissions are to be made through the IJOPM ScholarOne manuscript submission portal, and authors are encouraged to consult the journal's author guidelines.

Guest Editors


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Bonanno, G.A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59(1): 20–28.

Coaffee, J. and Lee, P. (2016) Urban resilience, Macmillan

Crippa, M., Solazzo, E., Guizzardi, D., Monforti-Ferrario, F., Tubiello, F. N., & Leip, A. (2021). Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Nature Food, 2, 198-209.

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Simmie, J. and Martin, R. 2010. The economic resilience of regions: Towards an evolutionary approach. Cambridge Journal of the Regions, Economy and Society, 3(1): 27–43

Tachizawa, E. M., & Wong, C. Y. (2014). Towards a theory of multi-tier sustainable supply chains: a systematic literature review. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 1 9(5/6), 643-663.

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Vale, L.J. and Campanella, T.J. 2005. The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster, New York: Oxford University Press

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