Researching the future of purchasing and supply management: The purpose and potential of scenarios

Louise Knight*, Joanne Meehan, Efstathios Tapinos, Laura Menzies, Alexandra Pfeiffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on prior research, the value of scenario planning as a methodology for researching the future of purchasing and supply management (PSM) is explored. Using three criteria of research quality – rigour, originality and significance – it is shown how developing scenarios and analysing their implications present new, important research opportunities for PSM academics, practitioners, and leaders of the profession. Researching the future of PSM supports the identification of uncertainties and anticipates change across many units and levels of analysis of interest to PSM scholars and practitioners, such as the profession/discipline, markets/sectors, or organisations. Scenarios are particularly effective for: considering how the complex interaction of macro-environmental factors affects the PSM context; avoiding incremental thinking; surfacing assumptions and revealing significant blind spots. PSM research using scenarios aligns with Corley and Gioia's (2011) call for prescience-oriented research in which academics aim for more impactful research, enhancing sense-giving potential and theoretical relevance to practice, to better perform their adaptive role in society.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100624
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number3
Early online date28 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Covid-19 coronavirus
  • Critical management
  • Future studies
  • Prescience
  • Procurement
  • Scenario planning


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