Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

Chad W. Autry

Committee Members

John E. Bell, Christopher R. Cherry, Diane A. Mollenkopf

Abstract

As urban areas around the world continue to grow, many companies have set their sights on entering these increasingly important markets with dense and diverse customer populations. Unfortunately, the urban environment presents many unique challenges not encountered in traditional city-to-city logistics. As firms adapt to these unique challenges, differences between cities add further complexity. Applying the systems contingency theory perspective (Venkatraman, 1989), this research examines the differences between U.S. urban areas and the logistics strategies that best fit specific combinations of urban environmental characteristics. Following a multi-disciplinary literature review, case studies conducted in eight U.S. cities confirmed certain environmental characteristics and revealed various strategies tailored to individual urban environments. Next, an agent-based simulation model tested performance outcomes related to multiple environment-strategy combinations. The results highlight the impact of urban environment characteristics on logistics performance and the significance of urban area differences on logistics strategy. Finally, the dissertation concludes with recommendations for future research on integrating additional urban environmental characteristics into logistics strategy and the impact of logistics operations on urban systems in general.

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