Purpose Organisations must build resilience to be able to deal with disruptions or non-routine events in their supply chains. While learning is implicit in definitions of supply chain resilience (SCRes), there is little understanding of how exactly organisations can adapt their routines to build resilience. The purpose of this study is to address this gap.
Design/methodology/approach This paper is an in-depth qualitative case study based on 28 interviews across five companies, exploring learning to build SCRes.
Findings This study uncovers six learning mechanisms and their antecedents that foster SCRes. The learning mechanisms identified suggest that through knowledge creation within an organisation and knowledge transfer across the supply chain and broader network of stakeholders, operating routines are built and/or adapted both intentionally and unintentionally during three stages of a supply chain disruption: preparation, response and recovery.
Practical implications This study shows how the impact of a supply chain disruption may be reduced by intentional and unintentional learning in all three disruption phases. By being aware of the antecedents of unintentional learning, organisations can more consciously adapt routines. Furthermore, findings highlight the potential value of additional attention to knowledge transfer, particularly in relation to collaborative and vicarious learning across the supply chain and broader network of stakeholders not only in preparation for, but also in response to and recovery from disruptions.
Originality/value This study contributes novel insights about how learning leads both directly and indirectly to the evolution of operating routines that help an organisation and its supply chains to deal with disruptions. Results detail six specific learning mechanisms for knowledge creation and knowledge transfer and their antecedents for building SCRes. In doing so, this study provides new fine-grained theoretical insights about how SCRes can be improved through all three phases of a disruption. Propositions are developed for theory development.
- Supply chain resilience
- Learning mechanism
- ORGANIZATIONAL ROUTINES