Pharmaceuticals supply chain management
: buffering & bridging response strategies in shortage management

  • Paul Morris

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


There exists a growing and tenacious challenge in the medicine supply chain, to manage the consequences of supply chain disruptions. Hospitals experience frequent shortages, in a European based study, 45% of respondents indicated that life preserving drugs were affected by shortages (Pauwels 2015). This research seeks to augment theoretical understanding underlying this significant issue and provide advice in the management of shortages which is a critical issue within the pharmaceutical industry. Previous research has focused on the antecedents of supply chain disruptions; what happens after a disruption has received scant attention. This research acknowledges that gap and seeks to build on the Bode et al. (2011), model of organisational responses to supply chain disruptions.
This study uses a research onion design as a stencil to guide the pluralistic methodological approach chosen to release the multifaceted dimensions of the problem under consideration. Data collection instruments were interviews, an online survey, and focus groups. It was based on 318 acute care hospitals in the UK and Ireland. Findings indicate there are patterns of responses, and shortage performances vary depending on the length of time since the disruption and response mixture chosen.
This research gives new insights into the impact of supply chain disruption response behaviour and supply chain performance in shortage management. It provides additional empirical tests to the Bode et al. (2011) normative model, providing insights into the underlying balanced theories, through examination of three constructs: supply chain disruption orientation; supply chain disruption performance and organisational response. It extends the concept of supply chain disruption orientation and highlights how response behaviour can feed back into the dynamic decision-making process, augmenting the Bode et al. (2011) framework. It provides insights to managers taking a system-wide view on drug delivery performance.
Date of Award5 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEdward Sweeney (Supervisor)


  • Pharmaceutical supply chain management
  • supply chain disruptions
  • shortage management
  • pharmaceuticals
  • performance

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