Ilitch School of Business professor publishes new research on supply network innovation

Wayne State University School of Business Administration professor Tingting Yan has had an article accepted by the Journal of Supply Chain Management, one of the top journals in the field. The article is another in a series of articles in Yan’s primary research domain related to buyer-seller relationships and innovation.

The article, written by multiple contributors, is titled “How Environmental Innovations Emerge and Proliferate in Supply Networks: A Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective.”

It studies the process of how environmental innovations emerge and generate in supply networks, and employs a specific perspective to overcome limitations of current supply network innovation theories.

A full abstract can be found below.

Tingting Yan is an assistant professor of global supply chain management in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. Her research areas include supply network collaboration in innovation, the role of culture in supply chain management, new product development and innovation adoption and diffusion. She was a recipient of the School of Business Administration’s Excellence in Research Award in 2014, and was also named “Best Reviewer” in the Journal of Operations Management in 2013.


How Environmental Innovations Emerge and Proliferate in Supply Networks: A Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective


Through a qualitative study of two firms’ supply networks, we develop a theory of the process by which environmental innovations emerge and proliferate in supply networks. To overcome limitations of current supply network innovation theories, which focus on the diffusion of existing innovations, we employ a complex adaptive systems perspective, which addresses how such innovations come into being in the first place and how they spread in a network over time. Our findings suggest a process model, in which temporally connected processes cross from the organizational to the network level, creating and spreading environmental innovations in supply networks. This model and its corresponding theoretical propositions were generated through an abductive research methodology. Our key insight is that development of environmental innovations in supply networks is an emergent phenomenon. Once in the network realm, the process ceases to be under the control of the dominant buying firm. Instead, self-organization and decentralized coordination prevail.​

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