Supply chain resilience and absorptive capacity: crisis mitigation and performance effects during Covid-19

Jan Stentoft*, Ole Stegmann Mikkelsen, Kent Adsbøll Wickstrøm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships of supply chain resilience (SCR) and absorptive capacity (ACAP) with firm performance by specifically examining the crisis-mitigating effects under an environmental jolt such as COVID-19. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on data from a questionnaire survey among Danish manufacturing and transport and logistics companies with 174 respondents. Findings: While the adaptive capabilities associated with both SCR and ACAP are well recognized in extant SCM literature, less is known about their boundary conditions. Examining the functioning of SCR and ACAP amid the COVID-19 crisis, this study finds that both SCR and ACAP related positively to firm performance. However, while the positive relationship between SCR and firm performance was partly mediated by better crisis-mitigation, the results of this study did not find that a similar mechanism was present for ACAP. These results suggest notable refinements of current understandings of SCR and ACAP. Research limitations/implications: This study is limited by the cross-sectional design, the focus on Danish companies only, and by examining only two industries. Hence, comparisons to other countries and other industries would be of significant interest. Practical implications: Investing in SCR and ACAP to different extents provides for a complementary mix of longer-term opportunity-generating dynamic capabilities and more short-term crisis-mitigating dynamic capabilities. Firms will benefit from both types of dynamic capabilities during a crisis, but the latter will be more important for mitigating specific crisis impacts. Originality/value: This paper extends current theorizing on ACAP and SCR by adding the distinction between the long-term opportunity generating dynamic capabilities and short-term crisis-mitigating dynamic capabilities. This paper provides novelty by empirically examining this theorizing by investigating the performance- and crisis-mitigating effect of SCR and ACAP in the light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSupply Chain Management
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)975-992
Publication statusPublished - 13. Nov 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Crisis
  • Environmental jolts
  • Performance
  • Supply chain resilience


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