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Unformatted text preview: Drivers of supply chain vulnerability: an integrated framework Helen Peck The Resilience Centre, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK, and The Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, UK Abstract Purpose – This paper aims to report on findings of a cross-sector empirical study of the sources and drivers of supply chain vulnerability. Design/methodology/approach – The research was undertaken in accordance with the realist tradition. It begins with a descriptive exploratory stage involving an in-depth exploratory case study of aerospace industry supply chains, validated through in-depth interviews with managers representing other “critical sectors” of the UK economy. This is followed by an explanatory theoretical stage. The work is supported throughout with reference to relevant literature sources. Findings – The findings highlight the absence of any widespread understanding of the scope of and dynamic nature of the problem, which should be considered from multiple perspectives and at four levels of analysis: value stream/product or process; asset and infrastructure dependencies; organisations and inter-organisational networks; and social and natural environment. Research limitations/implications – The paper is normative rather than positive, so focuses on understanding why supply chains are vulnerable to disruption, rather than presenting itself as a prescription for management. The paper does not investigate academic definitions or existing taxonomies of risk. Practical implications – The work provides some useful insights for practising managers and policy makers. Originality/value – The paper reports on empirical research, then draws as appropriate on network theory and complex systems perspectives to produce a conceptual model of a supply chain as in interactive adaptive system. Keywords Supply chain management, Risk management, United Kingdom Paper type Research paper Introduction Supply chain vulnerability is a relatively new and unexplored area of management research, though one that is in the ascendancy (Svensson, 2002). In the UK, the economic impact of fuel protests in 2000, followed by the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease early the following year, focused the minds of policy makers on the need to understand more about the vulnerability of commercial supply chains. As a result, the UK Government commissioned a programme of research, sponsored by the Department for Transport to investigate the phenomena. The ultimate aim of the research is to provide the insight by which to improve the resilience of the nation’s supply chain networks. This paper draws on the findings of a significant portion of the work. The term “supply chain” can be interpreted in many ways, but is defined here in its broadest sense, as “the network of organisations that are involved, through upstream The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregisterwww....
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- Spring '10