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Journal of Supply Chain Management

2017, 53(4), 67–85

© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Technische Universit€
at Berlin

Lund University

Copenhagen Business School

While systematic literature reviews (SLRs) have contributed substantially

to developing knowledge in fields such as medicine, they have made lim-
ited contributions to developing knowledge in the supply chain manage-
ment domain. This is due to the ontological and epistemological
idiosyncrasies of research in supply chain management, which need to be
accounted for when retrieving, selecting, and synthesizing studies in an
SLR. Therefore, we propose a new paradigm for SLRs in the supply chain
domain that is based on both best practice and the unique attributes of
doing supply chain management research. This approach involves explor-
ing existing studies with attention to theoretical boundaries, units of anal-
ysis, sources of data, study contexts, and definitions and the
operationalization of constructs, as well as research methods, with the
goal of refining or revising existing theory. This new paradigm will push
supply chain management research to the frontier of current methodologi-
cal standards and build a foundation for improving the contribution of
future SLRs in the supply chain and adjacent management disciplines.

Keywords: literature review; methodology; guidelines; paradigm; bias

INTRODUCTION field of medicine. For example, literature reviews con-

Medicine was one of the first academic fields in stitute more than 40 percent (48 of 116) of the arti-
which systematic literature reviews (SLRs) were intro- cles published in 2016 in the journal Nature Reviews
duced. Originally published in 1972, Cochrane’s Immunology, which is the highest-ranked impact jour-
(1999) book Effectiveness and Efficiency explains how nal in medicine according to the Thomson Reuters
researchers can make inferences on the basis of the Journal Citation Report (Ranking 2015 | Medicine).
appraisal and synthesis of multiple studies. Mulrow Today, SLRs also constitute an important building
(1987) later refined these guidelines to support a block for knowledge advancement in other sciences.
more systematic approach, and today, SLRs constitute The original approach to SLRs in medicine has been
a critical component of advancing knowledge in the adapted to particular research fields. Examples of such
modifications include Tranfield, Denyer and Smart
(2003) in management, Brereton, Kitchenham, Bud-
Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the journal editor, gen, Turner and Khalil (2007) in software engineer-
associate editor, and the three anonymous reviewers for their very
ing, and Mallett, Hagen-Zanker, Slater and Duvendack
constructive comments, as well as the K€ uhne Foundation, Switzer-
(2012) in international development. The reason for
land, for financial support of parts of this research. We would fur-
ther like to thank the colleagues at our departments and the
adapting the SLR guidelines is that each discipline has
participants of the 2014 CSCMP European Research Seminar for idiosyncrasies in its research that influence the retrie-
valuable feedback on previous versions of this article. val, selection, and synthesis of relevant literature. In

October 2017 67
Journal of Supply Chain Management

other words, the SLR guidelines must be adjusted to failure of a methodological approach in SLRs. In this
the ontological (what the reality is) and epistemologi- study, we argue that the ontological and epistemologi-
cal (how to know something about the reality) cal idiosyncrasies of SCM research necessitate a new
assumptions in each discipline (Davies, Nutley & paradigmatic foundation for conducting SLRs. Such a
Smith, 1999). These assumptions constitute the new paradigm will make it possible to take account of
research paradigm, which according to Kuhn (1996), individual SCM-study artifacts, thereby improving the
represents “the set of common beliefs and agreements contributions of SLRs to SCM theory and practice.
shared between scientists about how problems should The purpose of this technical note was to present a
be understood and addressed” (p. 45). new SLR paradigm for SCM, where we seek to answer
The supply chain management (SCM) domain is the following research question: How should SLRs in
witnessing an increase in the number of published SCM be conducted to reflect the idiosyncrasies of SCM
SLRs, which are also promoted by the journals research? We initially discuss the ontological and epis-
themselves through special issues. Upon reviewing temological idiosyncrasies of SCM research. Thereafter,
SCM-related research published during the period we use this discussion to derive implications for con-
2010–2015 (see the Appendix), we identified 133 ducting SLRs in SCM. We first synthesize relevant
SLRs. Of these, 44 were published between 2010 and methodology guidelines and outline common steps
2012 and 89 between 2013 and 2015. Interestingly, it for SLRs. Given the idiosyncrasies of SCM research,
appears that SLRs in the SCM field have yet to play a we then discuss how each step should be adapted,
key role in advancing knowledge in the highest- proposing new guidelines for SLRs with the goal of
ranked journals. Only four of the 133 identified SLRs refining or revising SCM theory. Finally, we reflect on
were published in the top 30 journals ranked in the the criticality of researchers’ own preknowledge and
Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report (Ranking actions in reducing bias in this process.
2015 | Management). This is remarkable considering
(1) the recognized contribution of SLRs in several
fields and sister disciplines (e.g., Cook, Possingham & ONTOLOGICAL AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL
Fuller, 2013; Kitchenham & Brereton, 2013; Mallett IDIOSYNCRACIES OF SUPPLY CHAIN
et al., 2012), (2) the rapid increase in SLRs in SCM, MANAGEMENT RESEARCH
and (3) the efforts of SCM researchers to increase the The ontological and epistemological idiosyncrasies
rigor, transparency, and contribution of SLRs by of SCM research pose unique challenges when con-
adopting SLR guidelines from related disciplines (e.g., ducting an SLR and should be accounted for when
Cooper, 2010; Denyer & Tranfield, 2006; Hart, 1999; retrieving, selecting, and synthesizing primary studies.
Petticrew, 2001; Rousseau, Manning & Denyer, 2008; Ontology refers to the nature of things and basic
Tranfield et al., 2003). assumptions about reality, whereas epistemology
Therefore, we meticulously examined our set of 133 refers to assumptions about the grounds of knowledge
SLRs and noted that 41.4 percent of them were aimed —that is, how one might understand and know about
at advancing theory by asking “what,” “how,” and reality (Burrell & Morgan, 1979). We limit our obser-
“why” questions (Dubin, 1978; Whetten, 1989), while vations of ontological and epistemological idiosyn-
the remainder mapped research, trends, or method- crasies to reviews published in journals that
ological approaches. We also found that the “theory- Zimmermann and Foerstl (2014) argued are relevant
advancing” SLRs, including some of our own studies, to the discipline.
encountered various idiosyncrasies that made the The first characteristic that we consider relates to the
retrieval, selection, and synthesis of studies challeng- theoretical boundaries of SCM. SCM represents a diver-
ing. For instance, there was a complex range of theo- gent discipline with permeable theoretical boundaries
retical perspectives and units of analysis (e.g., (Petersen & Autry, 2014). As such, rather than agree-
Kembro, Selviaridis & N€aslund, 2014; Miemczyk, ing on a core, the discipline sees a steady stream of
Johnsen & Macquet, 2012), a plethora of unique emerging research questions that are investigated
study contexts and temporal conditions (e.g., Busse & through a wide range of borrowed theoretical lenses
Wallenburg, 2011; Durach, Wieland & Machuca, (Boer et al., 2015; Carter, 2011; Choi & Wacker,
2015), and constructs that are defined and opera- 2011), with many studies using only a subset of the
tionalized differently across studies (e.g., Leuschner, assumptions of such theories (Pagell, in Boer et al.,
Carter, Goldsby & Rogers, 2014; Zimmermann & 2015). SLRs are challenged by this disciplinary
Foerstl, 2014). idiosyncrasy during study selection (cf. Defee, Wil-
We related the absence of SCM reviews in the liams, Randall & Thomas, 2010; Ellis, Shockley &
highest-ranked journals to Davies et al.’s (1999) Henry, 2011; Fahimnia, Sarkis & Davarzani, 2015;
observation that the research paradigm and idiosyn- Touboulic & Walker, 2015), as it implies a limit to
crasies of a discipline must be considered to avoid the the number of primary studies applying coherent

68 Volume 53, Number 4

Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management

theoretical perspectives to investigate similar phenom- reflect only a part of the units of analysis, such as col-
ena. As discussed by Petersen and Autry (2014), the lecting data from buying firms and hypothesizing
theoretical divergence within the SCM discipline also about buyer–supplier relationships (Kembro &
poses substantial challenges to knowledge develop- N€aslund, 2014).
ment because the various theoretical views influence The level of data collection refers to the hierarchical
how findings concerning certain phenomena are inter- (vertical) level from where data are collected for mak-
preted (Archer, Bhaskar, Collier, Lawson & Norrie, ing inferences about the unit of analysis. In supply
1998; Bhaskar, 1975; Hanson, 1958; Mingers, Mutch chains, data can be collected from multiple, related
& Willcocks, 2013; Volkoff & Strong, 2013). Research- levels, such as individuals, groups, plants, business
ers conducting SLRs consequently face the choice of units, or firms, to make inferences about the same or
(1) having low numbers of primary studies with a any higher-order level they are nested within (Carter
coherent theoretical perspective, or (2) synthesizing et al., 2015). The different sources of data may
studies with different theoretical viewpoints. explain differences in study findings and must be
The second characteristic relates to the unit of analy- accounted for in SLRs (cf. Miemczyk et al., 2012). The
sis, which depicts the part of the supply chain that is wide range of different units and levels of data collec-
researched in a study. In SCM research, the entity tion pose a challenge to coding and synthesizing SCM
being studied is often unclear and may vary greatly, studies. Nonetheless, efforts at theoretical refinement
involving anything from a single dyadic linkage in reviews must take into account any such conceptual
between a manufacturer and a retailer to all upstream differences among primary studies.
and downstream actors, who facilitate the flow of The fourth characteristic relates to the study context.
products, services, finances, and information (Carter, Context refers to “situational opportunities and con-
Meschnig & Kaufmann, 2015; Mentzer et al., 2001). straints that affect the occurrence and meaning of [. . .]
Carter et al. (2015) point out that while we are all functional relationships between variables” (Johns,
conducting research on supply chains, we have failed 2006, p. 386). SCM can be characterized as an idio-
to agree on what a supply chain is. One reason is that graphic discipline, as defined by Windelband and
supply chains are socially constructed and do not exist Oakes (1980), since the findings in SCM studies are
per se (see also Berger & Luckmann, 1967; Sayer, often attributed to contextual conditions. For example,
2000). The coexistence of competing definitions of SCM and operations management researchers have
supply chains affects conceptualizations in SCM and shown that people and firms are influenced by envi-
continues to provoke a lively debate among research- ronmental characteristics such as culture, industry sec-
ers (cf. Choi & Wu, 2009; Giannakis & Croom, tor, shareholder structure with regard to investments,
2004). Implications for SLRs in SCM are the need to strategy foci, and performance outcomes (cf. Naor,
identify the actual unit of analysis of the primary Linderman & Schroeder, 2010; Power, Schoenherr &
studies and the decision to include or exclude such Samson, 2010; Wong, Boon-itt & Wong, 2011). Con-
studies. Ensuring the same unit of analysis across pri- text also influences the time dependence of studies.
mary studies facilitates the synthesis of study findings The dynamism of the discipline, as evidenced by
but reduces the total number of papers in the final changing technologies, procedures, beliefs, communi-
sample. cation channels, and operational principles, can repre-
The third characteristic relates to the sources of data. sent an important time-dependent contextual variable
This refers to both the units and levels of data collec- in SCM research (Arlbjørn & Paulraj, 2013). There-
tion. The unit of data collection relates to the different fore, we cannot expect theories to remain stable across
conceptualizations of the supply chain and details the time and space. Rather than aiming for a universalistic
entities within this conceptualization from where the (nomothetic) theory of SCM, structures and processes
data are collected (Kembro & N€aslund, 2014). Data are constantly being adapted to their particular con-
can be collected (horizontally) from a single entity or texts. These contextual and temporal characteristics
multiple entities along the supply chain and/or within pose a challenge to SLRs and the inherent coding and
each entity (Kaufmann & Saw, 2014). It is recom- synthesis of primary studies, which are bound by their
mended that multiple informants be employed in historical setting and cross-context applicability (cf.
both quantitative and qualitative empirical studies of Busse & Wallenburg, 2011; Durach et al., 2015;
supply chains (Mena, Humphries & Choi, 2013; Roh, Leuschner et al., 2014). These characteristics deter-
Whipple & Boyer, 2013; Wu, Choi & Rungtu- mine “for whom,” “in what circumstances,” and
sanatham, 2010). While multiple informants increase “when” a certain phenomenon can be observed and
data quality, such studies often suffer from low the extent to which it can be observed. They impose
response rates, thus impeding statistical analysis moderating conditions on all observations in certain
(Kaufmann & Saw, 2014). Consequently, SCM study settings; therefore, researchers conducting SLRs
researchers regularly use units of data collection that must strive to detect, analyze, and report on these

October 2017 69
Journal of Supply Chain Management

contextual differences in their refined theoretical of the researchers, thus compromising the objectivity
models. of the study results.
The fifth characteristic relates to definitions and the
operationalization of constructs in SCM. Along with their SLR Guidelines
definitions and measures, constructs constitute the Regardless of the field, discipline, or philosophical
building blocks of theory (Suddaby, 2010). SCM con- perspective, SLRs commonly follow six steps: (1)
structs are characterized by conceptual heterogeneity defining the research question, (2) determining the
with a multitude of conflicting definitions and opera- required characteristics of primary studies, (3) retriev-
tionalizations of seemingly overlapping constructs ing a sample of potentially relevant literature, (4)
(Fabbe-Costes & Jahre, 2008; Whipple, Griffis & selecting the pertinent literature, (5) synthesizing the
Daugherty, 2013). Whipple et al. (2013), for example, literature, and (6) reporting the results. To outline
identified 119 unique items to measure “trust” in 42 these steps, we consider four key publications. First,
SCM-related articles. These differences pose significant Mulrow (1987) presented the original discussion of
challenges to SLRs in terms of coding and synthesizing an SLR method structure, which formed the basis for
primary studies (cf. Ellis et al., 2011; Leuschner et al., successive SLR guidelines in medicine and other fields.
2014; Miemczyk et al., 2012; Zimmermann & Foerstl, Second, the Cochrane Collaboration, founded in
2014). While many studies at first glance seem to have 1993, regularly publishes the latest insights on SLR
investigated similar phenomena, they often turn out to guidelines in the medical field (Cochrane Collabora-
have relied on different definitions and inconsistent tion, 2011). Third, the Campbell Collaboration, a sis-
scales. Researchers conducting SLRs, therefore, must ter initiative established in 2000 with the goal of
balance the choice between comparing a limited set of fostering SLRs in the social, behavioral, and educa-
primary studies with sufficiently comparable constructs tional disciplines, frequently publishes updates of its
and taking on the arduous task of accounting for the methodological recommendations (Campbell Collab-
differences in definitions and scales when developing oration, 2016). Fourth, Tranfield et al. (2003) drew
their theoretical models. Ignoring this issue would on previous SLR guidelines to provide the adaptation
inevitably yield misleading study findings. of SLRs to the management field. Related publications
The sixth characteristic relates to the research by the same authors, Mulrow and Cook (1998) and
methods. Traditionally, there has been an empiricism– Denyer and Tranfield (2009), reported similar steps;
modeling dichotomy in the SCM field (Belk, 2009; therefore, they are considered to be represented by the
Dooley, 2009), with little academic effort to bring the four selected references. Table 1 provides an overview
knowledge of both streams together (Dooley, 2009; of the six SLR steps, with each step linked to the four
Simchi-Levi, 2006). At the same time, empiricists references. The table also highlights general guidelines
struggle to agree on what types of studies provide a for conducting an SLR and, in the far-right column,
reliable knowledge base for SCM (Mangan, Lalwani & outlines how SLRs should be adapted to the idiosyn-
Gardner, 2004). In conducting SLRs, researchers must crasies of SCM research. Next, we discuss these guide-
consider the variation in research methods and deter- lines in more detail. For each step, we provide
mine the quality and rigor of primary studies before references to method examples in published SLRs if
synthesizing their findings. The omission of certain available, or use a hypothetical example whenever no
studies because of their research method bears the risk such references could be identified.
of excluding important theoretical insights and Commonly, the first step is to define the purpose
research perspectives (see, e.g., Voss, Tsikriktsis & and/or research question(s) of the SLR. In the medical
Frohlich, 2002). field, there is an emphasis on the importance of
clearly defined research boundaries (Cochrane Collab-
oration, 2011; Mulrow, 1987), whereas the concern in
A PARADIGM FOR CONDUCTING the social sciences is more about justifying the need
SYSTEMATIC LITERATURE REVIEWS IN (i.e., timeliness, relevance, contribution) for the
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT review (Campbell Collaboration, 2016; Tranfield
In this section, we present a new paradigm for con- et al., 2003). In the SCM context, however, SLRs need
ducting SLRs that reflects the idiosyncrasies of SCM to be aimed at understanding the conditions under
research. We first synthesize relevant methodological which theories on a real-life phenomenon do or do
guidelines to outline the six common steps of an SLR not work. Therefore, step one in SCM SLRs should
and thereafter discuss how each step can be adapted start with taking a theoretical lens on the phe-
for SCM when identifying, coding, and synthesizing nomenon of interest. From this lens, an initial theo-
primary studies. We then discuss potential biases in retical framework is developed that reflects the
the process of conducting an SLR that may be intro- relationships between concepts of the phenomenon.
duced through the imperfect perspectives and actions This initial theoretical framework reveals the scope of

70 Volume 53, Number 4

Guidelines for Conducting Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management

SLR steps for SCM research

Cochrane Campbell Tranfield Description of
Common SLR Mulrow Collaboration Collaboration et al. Steps in General Description of Steps in an
Steps (1987) (2011) (2016) (2003) SLR Guidelines SCM Review
Step 1: x x x x • Justify review in terms of • Develop an initial theoretical
Define research timeliness and relevance framework regarding the
question • Highlight contribution of phenomenon under study
SLR (based on prior knowledge
and scoping studies) with
the aim of refining it in light
of the SLR literature
o Framework must specify
limitations regarding units
of analysis (e.g., dyad vs.
ultimate supply chain),
study contexts (e.g.,
culture, industry, time),

October 2017
and construct definitions
(e.g., firm resilience vs.
supply chain resilience)
Step 2: x x x x • Craft inclusion and/or • Develop criteria for deter-
Determine required exclusion criteria mining whether a publica-
characteristics of tion can provide information
o for example, research
primary studies regarding the theoretical
Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management

method, study focus,

outlet, and language
o Assess contribution to
initial theoretical
framework, including
units of analysis, study
contexts, definitions,
and operationalization of
x x x

TABLE 1 (continued)

SLR steps for SCM research

Cochrane Campbell Tranfield Description of
Common SLR Mulrow Collaboration Collaboration et al. Steps in General Description of Steps in an
Steps (1987) (2011) (2016) (2003) SLR Guidelines SCM Review
Step 3: • Determine search proce • Identify literature through
Retrieve sample of dures (e.g., database search, structured and rigorous
potentially relevant cross-referencing) searches (see the next sec-
literature • Define and apply keywords tion for a discussion on
(“baseline to retrieve a preliminary potential biases in this step)
sample”) sample of primary studies o Multiple searches may be
needed to identify
literature on all aspects
of the theoretical
o Consider the breadth of
definitions and
terminologies in SCM
research when
constructing search terms
Step 4: x x x • Apply inclusion and/or • Conduct theoretically driven

Volume 53, Number 4

Select pertinent exclusion criteria selection of literature to
literature (“synthesis identify relevant studies
Journal of Supply Chain Management

sample”) according to inclusion/

exclusion criteria (see the
next section for a
discussion on potential
biases in this step)
• Conduct a detailed
relevance test that goes
beyond what is stated in
titles and abstracts
Step 5: x x x x • Apply coding schemes to • Develop two data extraction
Synthesize extract pertinent information structures on the basis of
literature from the literature aspects of the initial theoret-
ical framework
TABLE 1 (continued)

SLR steps for SCM research

Cochrane Campbell Tranfield Description of
Common SLR Mulrow Collaboration Collaboration et al. Steps in General Description of Steps in an
Steps (1987) (2011) (2016) (2003) SLR Guidelines SCM Review
• Synthesize studies by sum- o Code units of analysis,
marizing, integrating, or sources of data, study
cumulating the different find- contexts, definitions,
ings across the primary stud- construct measures, and
ies research methods and
relate these to study
• Integrate data to refine
theoretical framework, that
is, determine what works for
whom, how, and under what

October 2017
• Develop narrative
propositions that explain the
mechanism, context
(moderating conditions),
and outcomes
Step 6: x x x • Report results from the • Explain refined theoretical
Report the review framework and compare with
results initial theoretical
Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management

o provide a descriptive
overview of reviewed
literature and discuss
thematic findings

Journal of Supply Chain Management

the SLR through addressing the “what,” “how,” and criteria to evaluate the application of studies’ methods
“why” questions relating to the researched phe- in order to determine the reliability and validity of
nomenon (Rycroft-Malone et al., 2012). The frame- the findings. SLRs in SCM can benefit from both
work is SCM specific, as it also specifies limitations empirical qualitative and empirical quantitative stud-
regarding the units of analysis, study contexts, and ies and from modeling research (Jones, 2010). There-
definitions of its constructs. SLRs in the SCM context fore, primary studies should not be excluded because
may benefit from considering a limited number (one of the choice of research method. Instead, as dis-
or two) of theoretical perspectives, as multiple per- cussed by authors such as Simchi-Levi (2006) and
spectives can impede putting forth coherent argu- Dooley (2009), empirical research may benefit from
ments (cf. Pagell, in Boer et al., 2015). Developing analytical research to understand challenging empiri-
the initial framework is fundamental for the subse- cal problems better, while analytical research requires
quent selection, coding, and synthesis of primary empirical research as a supporting and validating
studies and requires in-depth knowledge of the mechanism. Similarly, qualitative research may add
subject. valuable insights into contextual factors that cannot
To illustrate step one, consider the following hypo- be accounted for in quantitative studies. In our hypo-
thetical SLR example, which aims to synthesize thetical SLR on the link between intellectual capital
extant literature about the link between intellectual and information sharing in the supply chain, model-
capital and information sharing in the supply chain. ing literature, for example, provides insights into the
The theoretical background for this link is derived benefits, types, and optimal degree of information
from Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998), who posit that exchange (see, e.g., Ebrahim-Khanjari, Hopp & Ira-
network ties—that is, the social relationships therein vani, 2012; Li & Zhang, 2008; Rached, Bahroun &
—and organizational advantage are positively linked Campagne, 2015), while contextual aspects and chal-
by describing how social relationships with network lenges of sharing information are found in empirical
partners provide access to informational resources. research (see, e.g., Klein & Rai, 2009; Malhotra,
The described constructs (along with definitions) Gosain & El Sawy, 2005; Vanpoucke, Vereecke &
and links provide a simple initial theoretical frame- Muylle, 2017). SLRs in SCM thus provide a unique
work, which, for the purpose of this hypothetical opportunity to bring the findings of these primary
example, is limited by focusing on dyadic, vertical studies together, and the decision to exclude a pri-
relationships between manufacturers or manufactur- mary study should only relate to its lack of contribu-
ers and retailers, and is restricted to observing orga- tion to the theoretical framework.
nizational performance at the buying firm. The third step of an SLR is to retrieve a “baseline
Moreover, in order to reduce the impact of the con- sample” of potentially relevant literature. General
textual factor of national cultural differences in indi- guidelines proffered by Mulrow (1987) and Tranfield
vidual studies, the SLR is limited to studies where et al. (2003), among others, suggest searching biblio-
all buying firms reside in the same region or to graphic databases, trial registers, websites, and confer-
studies that have explicitly controlled for cultural ence proceedings to include a broad literature base of
differences. published and unpublished studies. A good example
In the second step, the primary study characteristics of elaborate search efforts is provided by Chen, Olha-
are defined by crafting inclusion/exclusion criteria. ger and Tang (2014) who searched multiple databases
These criteria commonly reflect various aspects of the and conducted subsequent citation searches. The gen-
research purpose and research question(s) and focus eral guidelines suggest further that the search applies a
on the content and quality of the primary studies combination of keywords, which are based on the
(Campbell Collaboration, 2016; Cochrane Collabora- research purpose, research question(s) (step 1), and
tion, 2011; Mulrow, 1987; Tranfield et al., 2003). In inclusion/exclusion criteria (step 2). In the context of
the SCM field, inclusion/exclusion criteria are used to SCM, searches need to cover each aspect of the initial
assess the extent to which a primary study can inform theoretical framework, including its limitations.
one or more aspects of the initial theoretical frame- Reviews may benefit from conducting individual
work, including units of analysis, study contexts, and searches for each of the framework’s aspects. The final
definitions and the operationalization of constructs. list of search terms must also account for the breadth
Although not building on a predefined theoretical of definitions and terminology in the SCM discipline,
framework, Pilbeam, Alvarez and Wilson (2012) pro- to be inclusive rather than exclusive. As an illustrative
vide a good example for a detailed list of such criteria example, Kembro and N€aslund (2014) created a
along with explanations and rationales. search string with multiple synonyms for information
Regarding study quality, Denyer and Tranfield sharing, such as communicate, exchange, transfer, and
(2009) argued that researchers conducting SLRs flow, with the purpose to obtain a rather broad base-
should carefully build and report their own quality line sample.

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Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management

In the fourth step, the inclusion/exclusion criteria study features and specific information (details and
(step 2) are applied to reduce the sample of primary methods)” (p. 217). The aim of this step is to refine
studies to a subset, which can be referred to as the the initial theoretical framework using evidence from
“synthesis sample.” Ideally, this sample includes all the synthesis sample. Thus, the extraction template
relevant studies and excludes irrelevant studies. The needs to be developed on the basis of the content of
process of reaching a final list of primary studies is the initial theoretical framework. For SLRs in SCM,
subject to several biases such as inclusion criteria bias two parallel coding structures are suggested: (1) one
and selector bias, which are discussed in detail in the to cover each aspect of the framework, extracting the
next section. Specific guidelines are lacking regarding study findings regarding the relationships between
where (i.e., title, abstract, keywords, full text) the variables in the initial framework; and (2) one for
inclusion/exclusion criteria need to be applied (Camp- extracting the ontological and epistemological study
bell Collaboration, 2016; Cochrane Collaboration, artifacts, such as the unit of analysis, source of data,
2011; Mulrow, 1987; Tranfield et al., 2003). However, study context, definitions and construct measures, and
in Pittaway, Robertson, Munir, Denyer and Neely research methods. Analyzing the content and interrela-
(2004), exclusion criteria were first applied to manu- tionships between these coding structures helps to
script titles, and subsequently inclusion criteria were develop a refined understanding of the study findings,
applied to abstracts. In SCM reviews, it is important and eventually might allow a refinement of the initial
to go beyond what is stated in a study’s title and theoretical framework. These structures can be a priori-
abstract to determine its relevance for refining the the- defined, but also allow for emerging coding.
oretical framework. Abstracts typically provide general In the second phase of step 5, primary study find-
information about aspects, such as theoretical bound- ings are analyzed and integrated. This phase tradition-
aries, units of analysis, sources of data, and study con- ally includes summarizing or cumulating the findings
texts, but seldom provide details of the embodiment of different studies (Campbell Collaboration, 2016;
of these claims. Cochrane Collaboration, 2011; Mulrow, 1987; Tran-
The idiosyncrasies of SCM research, therefore, neces- field et al., 2003). In contrast to reviews seeking uni-
sitate further examination of these aspects and of versalistic cause–effect conclusions, SLRs in the SCM
details regarding construct definitions and opera- field call for the refinement or revision of the initial
tionalization to assess the actual relevance to the SLR. theoretical framework, developing explanations for
Otherwise, considering the disagreement on what con- contingent causalities. In light of the extracted study
stitutes a supply chain (see Carter et al., 2015), there idiosyncrasies and related study outcomes, the goal of
is a risk of including noninformative publications that the synthesis process is to refine the initial theoretical
could potentially distort the conclusions. Thus, SLRs framework by identifying “in what circumstances,”
in SCM benefit from shifting from the inclusivity idea “when,” or “for whom” the relationships in the theo-
and be exclusive in step 4 to accumulate a literature ries work. The coding tables need to be analyzed
base that can help in refining the initial theoretical regarding each aspect of the theoretical framework.
framework. Such an approach can result in small sam- Combining the studies will allow for developing
ples, but the contribution is strengthened by enabling chains of inferences—that is, connections that can be
a comparison between primary studies on certain made across studies on the basis of the concepts
aspects of the theoretical framework and singling out under research—usually allowing for the development
the factors that may explain differences in study find- of a moderating variable. In this vein, Edwards and
ings. The study conducted by Thome, Scavarda, Fer- Berry (2010) stated, “Contingencies built into theories
nandez and Scavarda (2012) displays a good example increase precision by specifying when and how the
for reducing a baseline sample to a synthesis sample relationships predicted by the theory should vary and
by first reading the abstracts, and subsequently the full whether the theory in toto is applicable in particular
text of each article. circumstances” (p. 676). Therefore, general constructs
The fifth step is concerned with study synthesis. The may have to be split into more context- and time-
first phase of this step is to code the relevant data specific constructs to further refine the framework
from primary studies. The process of coding articles (Busse, Kach & Wagner, 2017), and methodological
was only vaguely described in the reviewed methodol- aspects of the primary studies need to be considered
ogy articles. Mulrow (1987), the Cochrane Collabora- to explain differences in study findings (Kaufmann &
tion (2011), and the Campbell Collaboration (2016) Saw, 2014). The ultimate goal is to develop narrative
merely referred to the use of “coding schemes” to propositions that uncover and explain mechanisms,
extract “relevant” data. Tranfield et al. (2003) recom- contexts, and outcomes, ideally combining insights
mended using an a priori-defined coding structure to from different methodological approaches and
extract relevant study details on different levels: “gen- research settings. The identification of contradictory
eral information (title, author, publication details), empirical results, outliers, and real-world paradoxes

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plays a central role in this step. SLRs in SCM need to helps to refine our understanding of the initial theo-
embrace findings that challenge the preconceived pic- retical framework. For instance, Ellis et al. (2011)
ture of the theoretical framework to thus stimulate the built on enactment theory in the context of supply
development of new or alternative explanations. disruption risks to derive seven propositions from
To exemplify this fifth step, we draw on our hypo- their synthesis sample, describing how the literature
thetical example of the link between intellectual capi- draws a more refined picture of this theory.
tal and information sharing in the supply chain and
highlight two studies from the synthesis sample, Bias in the SLR Process
namely Paulraj, Lado and Chen (2008) and Van- Applying the new guidelines for SCM SLRs, it is also
poucke et al. (2017). In the first coding structure, it is important to reflect on the criticality of researchers’
noted that the former article identified a positive rela- own preknowledge and actions in reducing bias, con-
tionship between information sharing and buyer per- sidering that knowledge in the discipline is generated,
formance, while the latter article did not find a direct developed, and interpreted by humans and relies on
effect but, rather, an indirect effect via operational the methods and theories employed (Archer et al.,
integration. In the second coding structure, it is noted 1998). In other words, new SCM knowledge is (1)
that the source of data and the operationalization of shaped by our prior knowledge of the external reality,
the endogenous variables are relatively similar, while (2) embedded in the language used to express what
the exogenous variables were operationalized differ- we know, and (3) subject to imperfect observations
ently. Paulraj et al. (2008) operationalized informa- (cf. Bhaskar, 1975; Hanson, 1958; Mingers et al.,
tion sharing as interpersonal information sharing, 2013; Volkoff & Strong, 2013). According to Alvesson
whereas Vanpoucke et al. (2017) used measures that and K€arreman (2011), it is possible for different
refer to information sharing on the interorganiza- researchers to reach different conclusions even if their
tional level. Through comparing these differences in purpose, study settings, and data are identical.
study findings and study artifacts, also across the syn- Researchers conducting SLRs in SCM need to draw
thesis sample, new light can be shed on the theoreti- two conclusions from this. First, SLRs provide the
cal framework, including inferences about the opportunity to critically reflect, compare, and discuss
existence and strength of the links between social rela- prior study findings, allowing for more objectivity
tionships, information sharing, and organizational through triangulating through the different perspec-
advantages—the constructs under study in the hypo- tives and contexts. Second, and this is the basis of dis-
thetical example—as well as moderating and mediat- cussion in this section, researchers in SCM need to be
ing variables. Ceteris paribus inferences are then made, concerned with the fallibility of their preknowledge
proposing that the above relationship depends on and actions when reviewing the literature and con-
whether information sharing is measured on an sider their impact on the outcomes of the studies in
interorganizational or interpersonal level. Other question. Particular concerns with biases introduced
propositions include, for example, that the relation- by researchers have been raised for the process steps
ship is more pronounced in Asian countries, due to of retrieving (step 3), selection (step 4), and synthesis
lower degrees of an uncertainty avoidance culture of study data (step 5) (cf. Felson, 1992).
(Durach & Wiengarten, 2017) or that the benefit of Discussing bias in literature reviews has a long
information exchange is stronger in industries with history and has received attention across disciplines
perishable products (Ferguson & Ketzenberg, 2006). (Felson, 1992; Franco, Malhotra & Simonovits, 2014;
Finally, the sixth step involves reporting the results Glass, 1981). We highlight four biases that are critical
of the SLR. Tranfield et al. (2003) recommended for SLRs. Three of them—sampling bias, selection
a two-step presentation of the research findings: (1) a bias, and within-study bias—were first described by
“descriptive analysis” of the primary studies, and (2) Felson (1992) and later extended, while the fourth
a “thematic analysis”—that is, an outline of the bias, expectancy bias, was described by Cooper
knowledge derived from the study synthesis. In the (2010). These biases and their definitions, their effects
medical field, however, the focus tends to be on “the- on specific SLR steps, and potential remedies are listed
matic analysis,” where the findings are reported in in Table 2 and discussed in the following section.
“plain language summaries” or “finding tables/frame- Sampling bias (step 3), including retrieval bias and
works” showing causes and effects (Cochrane Collab- publication bias, is the failure to capture all relevant
oration, 2011; Mulrow, 1987). The SLR described in study findings on the aspects of the developed theo-
this paper contrasts the initial framework with a new, retical framework (Felson, 1992). Retrieval bias refers
refined framework where the contingent results are to the risk that the synthesis sample is not represen-
presented along propositions that depict the contex- tative of the available literature base (McGowan &
tual, conceptual, and temporal contingency factors. Sampson, 2005). Errors in searching for literature
The reporting of the results explains how the literature lead to a biased or incomplete review and can be

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Overview of Potential Biases in the Systematic Literature Review Process*

Definition and Affected

Bias Description SLR Steps Effect Remedy
Sampling Retrieval Sampled articles are Step 3 Sample of primary Include expert
bias bias based on inadequate studies is not searchers
or incomplete search representative Consider editorial
Publication Study findings that of the available policies during
bias challenge or change literature base journal selection
existing knowledge
are more likely to
be published
in leading journals
Selection Inclusion Inaccurate design Step 4 Relevant literature is Expertise, honesty,
bias criteria bias of selection criteria not included; and transparency
development of of researchers
Selector Subjective inclusion results is incorrect Involve multiple
bias of studies affected researchers and
by authors’ perceptions follow a blind
regarding results, process; external
authors, or journals researcher
Within-study Variability in coding Step 5.1 Study data are falsely Involve multiple,
bias of primary studies coded; outcome of independent
review is incorrect coders; use
agreement rates
Expectancy Synthesis of studies is Step 5.2 Synthesis of study Conduct parallel
bias influenced by the data is subjective; and blind
researchers’ conscious/ outcome of review syntheses
unconscious is incorrect involving multiple
expectations about researchers
the results
*Based on Felson (1992) and Cooper (2010)

pivotal in SCM research, where studies are highly new theories, proposing new definitions or develop-
dispersed across journals (McKinnon, 2013). To ing new measurement models (Whipple et al.,
reduce retrieval bias, McGowan and Sampson (2005) 2013), hardly ever replicating previous studies. There-
recommended the inclusion or commissioning of fore, guidelines, including those of the Campbell
expert searchers who clearly understand the data Collaboration (2016) and Tranfield et al. (2003),
structures and functions of bibliographic databases have recommended that SLRs consider both pub-
and the technical and methodological issues associ- lished and unpublished studies. There may still be
ated with conducting successful searches. Durach issues with this approach (cf. Cochrane Collabora-
et al. (2015), for example, sought assistance from tion, 2011), considering that unpublished studies
two librarians to develop search strings customized have not undergone a peer-review process to ensure
for each database. Publication bias refers to journals’ quality and therefore may skew the resulting theoreti-
tendency to publish findings that challenge or cal framework. To overcome publication bias, Thorn-
change existing knowledge, while studies that con- ton and Lee (2000) argued for the purposeful
firm previous results are less frequently published inclusion of scientific journals with editorial policies
(Littell, Corcoran & Pillai, 2008). This issue is appar- that advocate publishing only high-quality studies,
ent in the SCM discipline, where published research regardless of their results. However, there is a lack of
commonly seeks to be original through applying such policies in SCM journals.

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Journal of Supply Chain Management

Selection bias (step 4), consisting of inclusion crite- data. One reason for the occurrence of this bias is that
ria bias and selector bias, may also result in an researchers may have differing perspectives that influ-
incomplete or even wrong subset of relevant literature ence the interpretation of study findings. During study
(Felson, 1992). Inclusion criteria bias refers to the synthesis, researchers may also be biased in seeking
inaccurate design of selection criteria. In SCM, selec- information that conforms to their expectations and
tion criteria consider multiple aspects of the initial may overlook or disregard perplexing information
theoretical framework including theoretical bound- (Cooper, 2010). To address this bias, Denk, Kauf-
aries, units of analysis, sources of data, study contexts, mann and Carter (2012), for example, involved two
definitions, and the operationalization of constructs, coders in their study and calculated the number of
as well as research methods. One option to reduce agreements between these coders over the number of
inclusion criteria bias is the parallel and independent total decisions that had to be made by each. A thresh-
development of inclusion/exclusion criteria by two or old recommended by Miles, Huberman and Saldana
more researchers (Felson, 1992). However, limiting (2013) is set at .85 or .90, depending on the coding
this bias is difficult and ultimately lies with the jour- scheme’s size and range, to indicate internal consis-
nal reviewers, who can raise the issue given their thor- tency. Ideally, reducing expectancy bias would be
ough insights into the topic. Therefore, it is the achieved by engaging several researchers from a vari-
expertise, honesty, and transparency of researchers in ety of sociocultural and educational backgrounds with
creating and reporting on inclusion/exclusion criteria no prior conception of the refined theoretical frame-
that are most relevant for reducing inclusion criteria work (Schlosser, Wendt & Sigafoos, 2007). Alternative
bias (Littell et al., 2008). Further, even when inclu- recommendations about how to reduce expectancy
sion/exclusion criteria are adequately designed, bias can be found in grounded theory research, where
researchers may apply the criteria subjectively a similar research dilemma exists (Kaufmann & Denk,
(Cooper, 2010). This is called selector bias and can be 2011). For example, as suggested by Corbin and
detected, again, by involving multiple researchers. Strauss (1990), parallel and blind syntheses conducted
Inter-rater agreement rates and reliability scores, such by multiple researchers can help reduce expectancy
as Cohen’s j (Cohen, 1960), Fleiss’ j (Fleiss, 1971), bias. Identified concepts and propositions need to be
and the rwg index (James, Demaree & Wolf, 1984), challenged through a comparison of primary studies
can help to identify the degree to which agreement and between the theoretical framework and the stud-
has been achieved and whether the agreement is a ies. A more explanatory than judgmental presentation
product of chance. Reducing this bias is possible of the review results may also urge researchers to
when the selection of primary studies follows a blind demonstrate the adequacy of the refined or revised
process (i.e., researchers do not know of the study aspects of the theoretical framework, thus opening up
authors or journals) and when an external researcher the analysis to the scrutiny of others.
settles disagreements (Cooper, 2010). Thome et al.
(2012), for example, sought assistance from three
independent assessors with their selection of studies CONCLUSIONS
based on reading abstracts. After an adjustment to the The purpose of this study was to present a new SLR
rationale for their inclusion/exclusion criteria, Cohen’s paradigm accounting for the ontological and episte-
j was sufficiently high for the authors to conclude mological foundations of SCM research. We depicted
that agreement among the three judges was not a pro- six idiosyncrasies that are critical for identifying, cod-
duct of chance. For SLRs in SCM, developing detailed ing, and synthesizing studies on SCM and discussed
instructions for inclusion and exclusion decisions con- how they affect and should be accounted for in SLRs.
tributes to reducing selector bias. In presenting the new paradigm, we proposed a six-
The third type of bias, within-study bias (step 5.1), step guideline and discussed the criticality of research-
refers to variability in the coding of primary studies. ers’ preknowledge and actions in reducing bias in this
This bias can occur owing to a lack of well-defined process.
data extraction templates or via the coders themselves The new paradigm offers more than a mere descrip-
and can be detected through the involvement of mul- tion (stock taking) of existing literature; instead, it is
tiple independent coders (Felson, 1992). Intercoder aimed at refining or revising predefined theoretical
agreement rates increase transparency by showing frameworks on the basis of the nuancing of theoreti-
how many fields (in the extraction template) were cal boundaries, units of analysis, sources of data,
coded the same way by all researchers. Again, dis- study contexts, definitions, and the operationalization
agreements can be resolved by involving an external of constructs, as well as research methods of the indi-
researcher (Cooper, 2010). vidual studies. As such, the new guidelines may also
A fourth type of bias is expectancy bias (step 5.2), help to mitigate the frequently discussed gap between
which can occur during the synthesis of primary study management research and practice by illuminating the

78 Volume 53, Number 4

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hidden realms of reality in our theories (e.g., Banks Archer, M., Bhaskar, R., Collier, A., Lawson, T., & Nor-
et al., 2016; Kieser, Nicolai & Seidl, 2015). The pro- rie, A. (1998). Critical realism: Essential readings.
posed review process necessitates good prior theoreti- London: Routledge.
cal knowledge of the studied phenomenon and the Arlbjørn, J. S., & Paulraj, A. (2013). Special topic
ability to infer moderating and causal mechanisms, forum on innovation in business networks from a
supply chain perspective: Current status and
and it requires researchers to reflect critically on their
opportunities for future research. Journal of Supply
potential biases.
Chain Management, 49, 3–11.
The new paradigm warrants a discussion on the use Banks, G. C., Pollack, J. M., Bochantin, J. E., Kirkman,
of replication studies and transparency in the presenta- B. L., Whelpley, C. E., & O’Boyle, E. H. (2016).
tion of SCM studies. To support evidence-based Management’s science–practice gap: A grand chal-
decision-making, the original SLR methodology in lenge for all stakeholders. Academy of Management
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along a clear “hierarchy of evidence” (Cook, Mulrow & Lessons from the qualitative–quantitative gap in
Haynes, 1997). Replication studies in SCM are, how- consumer research. Journal of Supply Chain Man-
ever, largely absent, with “deleterious consequences for agement, 45, 35–37.
Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1967). The social con-
the development of a cumulative body of knowledge”
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(Hubbard, Vetter & Little, 1998, p. 243). Instead of knowledge. New York: Anchor.
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and measurement models for similar constructs (Whip- Boer, H., Holweg, M., Kilduff, M., Pagell, M., Schmen-
ple et al., 2013), seeking to avoid any sign of repetition, ner, R., & Voss, C. (2015). Making a meaningful
as it may be a cause for rejection due to a lack of addi- contribution to theory. International Journal of
tional contribution. As a consequence, comparing and Operations & Production Management, 35, 1231–
synthesizing literature via a statistical meta-analysis, 1252.
which is a state-of-the-art method for accumulating evi- Brereton, P., Kitchenham, B. A., Budgen, D., Turner,
dence and re-evaluating theories (Combs, Ketchen, M., & Khalil, M. (2007). Lessons from applying
the systematic literature review process within the
David, Crook & Roth, 2011), is at best a difficult under-
software engineering domain. Journal of Systems
taking. Furthermore, the need for increased trans- and Software, 80, 571–583.
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emphasis. Ensuring transparency by presenting digms and organisational analysis: Elements of the
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tions, definitions, measurement models, and correla- tion.
tion tables, is required for future research to effectively Busse, C., Kach, A. P., & Wagner, S. M. (2017).
compare and synthesize primary studies via SLRs and Boundary conditions: What they are, how to
contribute to knowledge development. The current explore them, why we need them, and when to
state of transparency in our discipline, together with consider them. Organizational Research Methods, in
the lack of replication studies, proliferation of measure- print.
Busse, C., & Wallenburg, C. M. (2011). Innovation
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management of logistics service providers: Foun-
knowledge development and contributes to the fact dations, review, and research agenda. International
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more systematic, repetitive, and transparent manner. expectations of Campbell Collaboration interven-
The new paradigm presented in this article is intended tion reviews: Reporting standards. Retrieved
to address the effects of these current issues, presenting January 6, 2017, from https://www.campbellcol
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Carter, C. R. (2011). A call for theory: The maturation
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of the supply chain management discipline. Jour-
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Carter, C. R., Meschnig, G., & Kaufmann, L. (2015).
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Scavarda, A. J. (2012). Sales and operations and sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of the

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International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics International Journal, and International Journal of Physi-
Management. He graduated from the Zurich University cal Distribution & Logistics Management.
of Applied Sciences, the Worcester Polytechnic Insti-
tute, and the Technische Universit€at Berlin. He is a Andreas Wieland (Dr. rer. oec., Technische Univer-
frequent speaker at both business and research confer- sit€at Berlin) is an associate professor of supply chain
ences. He is a member of the Center for Supply Net- risk management at the Department of Operations
works (CaSN) at Arizona State University, the Beta Management, Copenhagen Business School. His cur-
Gamma Sigma International Honor Society, and the rent research interests include resilient and socially
Global Manufacturing Research Group (GMRG). responsible supply chains. His articles have appeared
in journals such as International Journal of Logistics
Joakim Kembro (Tekn. dr, Lund University) is an Management, International Journal of Physical Distribu-
associate senior lecturer at the Department of Indus- tion & Logistics Management, Journal of Business Logis-
trial Management and Logistics, Lund University. He tics, and Supply Chain Management: An International
has extensive logistics and supply chain management Journal. He is a senior associate editor of the Interna-
experience. Between 2005 and 2010, he worked as a tional Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Manage-
logistician in various positions with the United ment and a member of the editorial boards of other
Nations. He is a board member of the Swedish journals in the field. He is the recipient of several
National Association of Purchasing & Logistics and is research, teaching, and reviewer awards. He is a mem-
a frequently invited speaker at business conferences. ber of several organizations, including the European
His research interests include humanitarian logistics, Operations Management Association (EurOMA) and
warehouse operations, omni-channel networks, and the German Academic Association for Business
information sharing in supply chains. His research Research (VHB). He is also the editor of the blog scm-
has been published in journals such as Journal of research.org.
Operations Management, Supply Chain Management: An

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Journal of Supply Chain Management

Steps Followed for Identifying Systematic Literature Reviews

Key Data of Review

Criteria for inclusion Reasoning
Paper has been published in 2010–2015 Focus on recent publications relating to SCM, building on
previous review of SLRs in SCM, covering the years
2000–2009 (Seuring & Gold, 2012)
Paper explicitly states that SLR Identify a sample of studies that employ SLR; exclude studies
methodology is applied labeled as “reviews” but develop an exclusively narrative
SLR is the primary method in the paper Identify a sample of studies focused on SLRs; papers with a
mixture of research methods provide less space for
presenting details of method and contribution of the SLR
Paper demonstrates focus on SCM Focus on SCM studies related to the purpose of this research
Paper is written in English English is the dominant research language in the SCM
discipline; ensures accessibility and comparability of results
Data search
Two electronic, complementary, and commonly used (e.g., Durach et al., 2015; Leuschner et al., 2014)
databases; search strings (for topic searches in articles) developed for each database in collaboration
with two librarians; search was conducted between February 8 and 12, 2016
• Business Source Complete (via EBSCOhost)—the Descriptor function was employed to build the
following search string: DE “SUPPLY chain management” AND “Literature Review”
• Web of Science Core Collection—a traditional string was used: (“literature” AND “review”) AND
(supply chain management)
Data selection
Total articles from database search: 991 (343 articles in EBSCO; 648 articles in Web of Science)
After eliminating 269 duplicates, total articles remaining: 722
Screening of papers (inclusion/exclusion criteria) was conducted independently by two authors while
blanking out all article information except for title and abstract

• Screening resulted in a sample of 164 relevant articles with an inter-rater agreement rate of 91
percent; Cohen’s j was calculated as .82, indicating “almost perfect agreement” (Landis & Koch,
• When disagreements occurred, authors resorted to the full version of the article and included a
third coder to resolve the issue
The 164 articles were eventually read in their entirety. In this process, 31 purely narrative reviews were
identified and excluded (see inclusion criteria), leaving 133 articles with an SLR approach. The articles
were coded into a predefined coding scheme (see coding fields below) by two coders. The intercoder
agreement rate was calculated to be 87 percent. Fields with disagreements were double-checked
through a repeated joint coding of the respective articles and the inclusion of a third coder.

• Title
• Journal
• Publication year
• Author information (number of authors, affiliations, countries)
• Review objective(s) (research trends, description, theory advancement, test/discussion of method)
• Systematic or narrative review approach
• Review type (qualitative vs. meta-review)
• Number of involved assessors/coders during selection/coding

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Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management

APPENDIX (continued)

• Score reported for inter-rater/intercoder reliability

• Note of measures taken to reduce bias
• Method for retrieving baseline sample (incl. databases used)
• Search string (if applicable)
• Time period purposely covered (incl. reasoning)
• Applied quality assessment criteria
• Number of papers reviewed
• Coding approach (a priori vs. emerging)
• Methodology articles cited
• Reviewed papers listed or marked?

This is not a systematic literature review in the sense of the new paradigm presented in this study and should not serve as an illus-
trative example of such.

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