Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level



Supply Chain Management


Brian Fugate

Committee Member

Jonathan Johnson

Second Committee Member

Matthew Waller


Complex systems, Distant ties, Forecast accuracy, Network analysis, Network theory, Supply chain management, Supply networks


The rising interest in network theory among supply chain scholars reflects an emerging shift in perspective. To deliver global speed, efficiency, and responsiveness, modern firms’ supply chains are becoming increasingly complex. The patterns of interactions and interdependencies among hundreds of firms interconnected by these complex supply chains cannot be adequately explored from the dyadic perspective, which has dominated supply chain research for decades. Many supply chain scholars agree that the language of networks can provide a syntax and structure to describe and explore this complex reality. The actual application of network theory in supply chain research, however, has been limited. This dissertation provides three examples of how rigorous network analysis can furnish both a theory and a method to study modern firms’ supply chains and obtain new knowledge advancing both scholarly thought and business practice. In this light, this dissertation may serve as a guide for supply chain scholars seeking to leverage the potential of empirical network analysis in their research.

Essay 1 explores some of the ways in which structural properties of a firm’s supply network affect the accuracy of forecasts made by stock analysts. Essay 2 examines how a firm’s supply network changes its structure when the firm experiences stretches of financial difficulty. Essay 3 investigates how the structure of a firm’s supply network changes as the firm unfolds a significant exploratory innovation project. Collectively, these three essays demonstrate the value of the network perspective as a great connector of ideas extending the interface between supply chain management and other business disciplines.