The purpose of this paper is to carry out a critical assessment of empirical research content in supply chain management (SCM). The assessment involved 569 empirical research articles published in 21 selected journals between 1994 and 2008.
The methodology of critical assessment involved selection and classification of 569 empirical research articles in SCM. A systematic classification and a critical analysis is carried out so as to identify research gaps in content of SCM in empirical research, as well as to recommend directions for future research.
Critical analysis of selected articles led to conclusion that SCM content in empirical research is very much based on analysis of focal firms and most of the authors prefer to perform empirical studies for combination of various entities of analysis considering possible elements of exchange. Performance measurement is on the rise and will continue to be but should be used at higher levels of analysis as well. The principal component bodies of SCM need further development to stage SCM at maturity level. Overall, it is highlighted that there is still a need for better frameworks that can overcome the shortcomings in extant empirical research literature of SCM.
Many literature reviews that aim at critical examination of SCM literature are reported but none of them focused exclusively on content of empirical research in SCM. Another unique feature of this paper is that the sample size of articles with respect to number of papers (569 papers) as well as number of journals (21 journals) is larger then ever considered for literature review in SCM. The paper spans a longer time span of 15 years (1994‐2008) as well.