Leadership in Risky Supply Chains
Two logisticians from the Department of Defense offer ideas that may apply to either military and commercial supply chains or combinations thereof. A stable supply chain is where operations are routinized across smooth inter-organizational relationships. When faced with familiar situations, supply chain partners can rely on past experience which has become the basis for routine work; that is, partners employ the reliable frames of reference imbedded in their standard operating procedures. However, unusual situations present emergent, unpredictable risk and require management that is qualitatively different from that in standardized practice. In the face of risky supply chains, adaptive leaders exercise “creative deviance,” and seek to influence others in the chain to diverge from their habitualized frames of reference through divergence and value patterning. While adaptive leadership becomes a mitigation strategy for confusingly novel situations, there are also social risks for supply chain innovators.
The views expressed are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the US Department of Defense or the US Government.
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