City Research Online

Seeing with fresh eyes – the potential of paradox theory to explore persistent, interdependent tensions in supply chains

Kocabasoglu Hillmer, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-6180-5636, Vanpoucke, E., Son, B-G. ORCID: 0000-0002-7395-0598 & Roden, S. (2023). Seeing with fresh eyes – the potential of paradox theory to explore persistent, interdependent tensions in supply chains. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 43(22), pp. 1669-1689. doi: 10.1108/IJOPM-07-2023-0605


Purpose – This study explores the potential of paradox theory as a novel theoretical lens to investigate persistent and interdependent tensions in supply chains. It is based on a critical literature review focusing on paradoxes observed within complex supply chains in dynamic business environments, including the articles selected for this Special Issue, “Environmental Dynamism & Supply Chain Complexity: Managing the Paradoxes”.

Design/methodology/approach – This study introduces the key concepts and the themes of the paradox theory literature and possible methodological approaches to studying paradoxes in supply chains. Through a literature review, this study also reflects on the current state of paradox research in the field of operations and supply chain management (OSCM) and proposes future research questions.

Findings – The application of paradox theory to OSCM research is in its early stages. This paper presents opportunities to explore persistent and inter-dependent tensions in supply chains using paradox theory.

Research limitations/implications – The paper suggests several new research questions that should be translated into more precise propositions. The main implication for research is a call to focus attention on how and why a paradox perspective can help supply chain researchers view complex supply chain problems with fresh eyes.

Originality/value – The study provides the first critical review of paradoxical tensions in OSCM research. While the papers in this Special Issue contribute significantly to a better understanding of these issues, there is still significant potential in understanding how to respond to paradoxes in supply chains.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Emerald, 2023. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.
Publisher Keywords: paradox theory, research agenda, paradoxical tensions
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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