Zooming in on everyday work life of two Supply Chain Managers

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för service management och tjänstevetenskap

Abstract: Purpose: Since limited efforts have been made when trying to understand and identify what managers do when managing the supply chain, the purpose of this research is to move towards a better understanding of Supply Chain Manager’s practices. By using different methods than previously conducted research, a practice-based approach is going to be used when trying to answer, identify and to zoom in on the activities and “doings” of Supply Chain Managers’ daily practices. The aim is to take a step towards the creating of a new picture of Supply Chain Manager as a practice, but also to investigate the importance of sensemaking, sensegiving and knowledge in the daily activities that contribute to the practices, along with comparing previous managerial research with the empirical findings. Methodology: This study is based on a qualitative abductive approach with a multiple case study design, with a starting point in micro-ethnography using shadowing as the main choice of method and semi-structured interviews together with document analysis as complement. Findings and results: An extensive amount of numerous activities, doings and practices was identified for the supply chain managers to accomplish their daily work. The key recurring accomplishments of practices, categorized into meetings, desk work and tours, are summarized and presented. The results discussed how supply chain managers act as an ambassador in a high paced fragmented environment with overlapping practices, when constantly sharing information, knowledge and experiences while working into the future in retrospective understanding. Finally, previously conducted managerial research still gets support from the findings in this thesis. Value: One important contribution in the study was the strength and the advantages of using practice theory and a practice-based approach when conducting research of practices. This approach allowed another contribution to be made, to take a step towards a better understanding of Supply Chain Managers’ practices.

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