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The non-adoption of supply chain management

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journal contribution
posted on 05.06.2015, 12:27 by Scott FernieScott Fernie, Stuart Tennant
Largely taken for granted within the UK construction sector has been a view that supply chain management theory is robust, relevant and reliable. As such it has formed a substantial aspect of previous and contemporary policy and government funded research. Despite this, the general view of its development and diffusion over the last 15 years within the construction industry has been problematic. Coincidentally, prevailing debates within the supply chain management academic community point to the lack of unified theory, models of diffusion and strong connections to organization theory. Using Straussian grounded theory, iterations between data and organization theory provided a fresh perspective on the development and diffusion of supply chain management in construction. This inductive research provided contextually rich explanations for development and diffusion that explicitly connected with and drew upon robust, relevant and reliable theories of institutions, innovation diffusion, triads, quasifirms and mechanisms of organizational governance. These explanations challenge the simplistic assumption that chains and networks of organizations are holistically managed and controlled by any single organization or institution in the construction industry. The debate therefore shifts away from proselytizing supply chain management towards research that explores the rigour, relevance and reliability of supply chain management assumptions in construction. The gap between industry practice and policy is exposed and the question is posed: to what extent policy and practice do, or should, constitute a recursive relationship.© 2013 Taylor & Francis.


Work on this paper was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), [grant number EP/G048606/1].



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Construction Management and Economics






1038 - 1058


FERNIE, S. and TENNANT, S., 2013. The non-adoption of supply chain management. Construction Management and Economics, 31 (10), pp. 1038 - 1058.


© Taylor & Francis


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Construction Management and Economics on 10th October 2013, available online: