A contextual approach to supply chain risk mitigation

Woojung Chang, Alexander E. Ellinger, Jennifer Blackhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Purpose - As global supply networks proliferate, the strategic significance of supply chain risk management (SCRM) - defined as the identification, evaluation, and management of supply chain-related risks to reduce overall supply chain vulnerability - also increases. Yet, despite consistent evidence that firm performance is enhanced by appropriate fit between strategy and context, extant SCRM research focusses more on identifying sources of supply chain risk, types of SCRM strategy, and performance implications associated with SCRM than on the relative efficacy of alternative primary supply chain risk mitigation strategies in different risk contexts. Drawing on contingency theory, a conceptual framework is proposed that aligns well-established aspects of SCRM to present a rubric for matching primary alternative supply chain risk mitigation strategies (redundancy and flexibility) with particular risk contexts (severity and probability of risk occurrence). The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach - Conceptual paper. Findings - The proposed framework addresses supply chain managers' need for a basic rubric to help them choose and implement risk mitigation approaches. The framework may also prove helpful for introducing business students to the fundamentals of SCRM. Originality/value - The framework and associated research propositions provide a theoretically grounded basis for managing the firm's portfolio of potential supply chain risks by applying appropriate primary risk mitigation strategies based on the specific context of each risk rather than taking a "one size fits all" approach to risk mitigation. An agenda for progressing research on contingency-based approaches to SCRM is also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-656
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2015


  • Contingency theory
  • Flexibility
  • Redundancy
  • Risk management
  • Risk mitigation
  • Supply chain risk


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