Should You Take the Time to Read Scholarly Journals?

Forbes contributor Christian Stadler wrote an important article in June 2015 entitled, “Should Managers Read Academic Articles,” that discusses the value of academic journals in the world of management and business. He uses Rita McGrath’s popular book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, as an example of a common phenomenon: “Ideas which managers and consultants pick up from successful books have often been discussed in academic journals for years. The problem is that much of that literature is inaccessible to managers. It is full of cumbersome jargon, heavily focused on theory, and there is so much of it that it is hard to find the most relevant articles.” The article makes it clear that accessing and reading academic literature is not necessarily easy. One suggestion on where to go for help is “to approach someone from your field of interest,” such as a professor. “Most professors should be able to point towards a few interesting articles and some will be able to tell you which ideas currently being discussed are most relevant to you.”

What exactly is a scholarly journal? It is a journal that generally has the following characteristics: 1) peer-reviewed (articles are stringently evaluated and approved by fellow experts), 2) provides detailed research findings specific to a particle discipline, 3) articles are written in a more formal style, and 4) are written by scholars and experts in the field.

As far as scholarly journals for procurement and supply chain professionals, there are many available. Dr. Andreas Wieland published an interesting post in 2014 on his Supply Chain Management Research blog about supply chain management journals and impact factors. Dr. Wieland looked up the impact factors, which is one way of measuring quality, of several supply chain management journals. He writes:

“At least two SCM-related [Supply Chain Management] journals have an impact factor larger than 3, indicating that they belong to the best in class in the management realm: Journal of Operations Management and Journal of Supply Chain Management. Moreover, two other journals have an impact factor close to 3: Supply Chain Management: An International Journal and Journal of Business Logistics. Four additional journals were able to reach an impact factor between 1.5 and 2: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics ManagementJournal of Purchasing & Supply ManagementDecision Sciences and International Journal of Operations & Production Management.”

(Keep in mind, and Dr. Wieland acknowledges this, that there is an ongoing debate about the true usefulness these types of rankings. Also, rankings might have changed since his post was published.)

Two new journals recently launched that are of interest to procurement and supply chain professionals are: 1) Journal of Connectivityan interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, open access (OA) publication designed “to facilitate the exploration of the Internet of Things,” and 2) IACCM’s peer-reviewed academic journal entitled Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation (JSCAN).

Other scholarly and academic journals to consider are: International Journal of Procurement Management, Harvard Business ReviewInternational Journal of Logistics ManagementInternational Journal of Logistics: Research & Applications and Interfaces.

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