Whose resilience matters? Addressing issues of scale in supply chain resilience

David C. Novak, Zhaohui Wu, Kevin J. Dooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Many existing studies and models of supply chain resilience conceptualize resilience from the perspective of an equilibrium-seeking focal firm or industry. The term “supply chain resilience” is often discussed as a dimension of firm resilience, as opposed to a standalone concept. In this context, resilience is defined according to how well a firm or industry can respond to a disruption while maintaining existing structures and processes and then “bounce back” to a pre-disruption equilibrium or “bounce forward” to a new, presumably better, equilibrium in the shortest amount of time with the least cost. In this paper, we argue that equilibrium-based conceptualizations of supply chain resilience can be misaligned with the notion of a supply chain as complex adaptive system (CAS) that continually adapts and transforms via autonomous actions of the different actors within the system. We offer suggestions on how practitioners and researchers can advance theory and practice by adopting a CAS or complexity-based perspective on supply chain resilience. Specifically, we address the importance of scale and the challenges associated with mismatched scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Logistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • complex adaptive system
  • mismatched scales
  • scale
  • supply chain management
  • supply chain resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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