Supply chain theory and cultural diversity

P. Childerhouse, E. Deakins, A. Potter, R. Banomyong, Peter McCullen, A. Thomas, T. Bohme, T. Hosoda, E.A. Yaseen, D. Towill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: By far the biggest proportion of supply chain theory is bound up within North American and European business settings, hence its generalisability to culturally diverse global supply chains is investigated. Methodology: This exploratory research utilises the anthropological approach of observing supply chain manager behaviour in five distinct natural settings (Egypt, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom). Hofstede’s (1980) well-known measures of work-related culture are used to explain the observed manager behaviours. Research Implications: Supply chain theory needs to be tailored to take account of culturally diverse settings as the optimal local supply chain architecture requires consideration of national, organisational and individual cultural norms. Similarly, change roadmap and management should also be matched to the local cultural environment. Research Limitations: A limited number of national settings, and cases in each setting, is investigated. Hence, significant scope exists for further exploratory research into the implications of cultural diversity for global supply chain management. Original contribution: The behaviour of supply chain managers in a range of national settings appears to be closely correlated with the national culture value set. Such cultural drivers of manager behaviour offer pointers to the successful design and implementation of high performing international supply chains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalManipal Journal of Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Anthropology
  • behavioural operations management
  • cultural diversity
  • global supply chains
  • international management
  • managerial behaviour
  • national context
  • supply chain culture
  • supply chain management


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