Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Major Professor

James M. Reeve

Committee Members

John T. Mentzer, Bruce K. Behn, James H. Foggin, Harold P. Roth, Esteban Walker


Competing at the supply chain level, instead of at the individual firm level, is widely recognized today as a potential source of competitive advantage (Christopher 1992, Spekman et al. 2001). To compete on a supply chain level implies firms within a supply chain must develop and enhance internal, as well as, external competencies.

Intuitively, firms must have some degree of internal integration before they can reap significant benefits from engaging in supply chain management (SCM). As firms become more efficient and effective coordinating their internal processes and operations they soon realize significant improvements are possible by coordinating and linking their processes and operations with their suppliers and customers (i.e., forming competence alliances). At a supply chain level, firms within the supply chain may form competence alliances that link each firm’s competences and/or resources to other firms of the supply chain in order to, “draw on a broader range of competences, to acquire desired competences more quickly, or to extend the reach of current competences into new competitive domains (Sanchez and Heene 1997, 307).”

Studies aimed at investigating the implementation process should be fruitful in further developing the theory of SCM. This study seeks just that aim, by qualitatively investigating how a direct supply chain attempted to implement SCM. In moving toward supply chain management this study identifies six supply chain management execution antecedents that individual firms in a supply chain must address, 1) proper alignment of management support, 2) funding of verbal commitment, 3) proper motivation, 4) training, 5) visioning, and 6) internal/external integration linkage. In addition, the study revealed the reinforcing linkage between internal integration and external integration. If the supply chain is the next source of competitive advantage then understanding how to progress towards managing the supply chain is crucial. The results of this study add to that understanding.

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