Managing supply networks: organizational roles in network management

Louise Knight, Christine Harland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes research findings on the roles that organizations can adopt in managing supply networks. Drawing on extensive empirical data, it is demonstrated that organizations may be said to be able to manage supply networks, provided a broad view of ‘managing’ is adopted. Applying role theory, supply network management interventions were clustered into sets of linked activities and goals that constituted supply network management roles. Six supply network management roles were identified – innovation facilitator, co-ordinator, supply policy maker and implementer, advisor, information broker and supply network structuring agent. The findings are positioned in the wider context of debates about the meaning of management, the contribution of role theory to our understanding of management, and whether inter-organizational networks can be managed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-292
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • supply networks
  • role theory
  • inter-organisational networks


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