Strategies for complex supply networks: Findings from the offshore wind power industry

Thomas E. Johnsen, Ole Stegmann Mikkelsen, Chee Yew Wong

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges facing companies that operate within complex supply networks and the strategies they use to manage such complex supply networks. Design/methodology/approach: The paper uses mixed methods by combining in-depth case studies with an executive forum with those of senior industry stakeholders. The two in-depth supply network case studies were carried out through multiple interviews with focal (or ‘developer’) firms that supply energy through offshore wind power and key suppliers such as wind turbine manufacturers. Findings: The findings show the challenges the offshore wind power industry faces because of complex supply networks, including attempts by several actors to exert their power and control. Despite the networks facing similar complexities and challenges, two distinctly different strategies for orchestrating and governing supply networks are uncovered: one strategy resembles an interventionist strategy, while the other is based on delegation. Research limitations/implications: Based on the findings, the authors identify and develop a classification of complex supply network divided into intervention and delegation strategies, thereby adding to existing research on ways to manage complex supply networks. Practical implications: The authors identify strategies for focal firms for managing in complex supply networks, based on control and intervention or coordination and delegation. Originality/value: Existing research on supply network strategies has largely focused on non-complex contexts. This paper draws from complex adaptive systems and organisational behaviour perspectives to contribute original insights into supply network strategies in complex supply networks.

TidsskriftSupply Chain Management: An International Journal
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)872-886
StatusUdgivet - 22. okt. 2019

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