Resilience of medium-sized firms to supply chain disruptions: the role of internal social capital

Mikaella Polyviou, Keely L. Croxton, A. Michael Knemeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore resources or capabilities that enable medium-sized firms to be resilient, namely, to avoid and recover from supply chain disruptions. Design/methodology/approach: A case-study method is employed with four medium-sized manufacturing firms headquartered in the USA that have global supply chains. Data are collected from semi-structured interviews with key informants from diverse functions and managerial levels, archival documents, observation and a resilience assessment. Findings: Internal social capital emerged as a resilience-enhancing resource, comprising: structural capital grounded in small network size, geographical proximity among decision makers and low hierarchy; relational capital grounded in close relationships, commitment and respect; and cognitive capital grounded in long employee tenure. Originality/value: This is the first paper in the supply chain management literature to examine the resilience of medium-sized firms, an under-researched context. It is also the first paper to introduce internal social capital as a resilience-enhancing resource. Hence, this is among the few papers to propose a resilience-enhancing resource rooted not in a firm’s supply chain operations but its human resources. This paper, moreover, identifies several facets of internal social capital within medium-sized firms. Finally, the paper makes several managerial contributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-91
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2020


  • Internal social capital
  • Medium-sized firms
  • Multiple-case study
  • Resilience
  • Supply chain disruptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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