Supply chain (SC) resilience is an increasingly important topic for practitioners and academics because it is a competitive weapon for firms to cope with SC disruptive risks. This study examines the impact of high-involvement human resource management practices on SC resilience from the ability-motivation-opportunity perspective. It also examines the relationship between the dimensions of SC resilience and operational performance. Based on data collected from 206 Chinese manufacturers, the proposed hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. The results indicated that employee participation played the most powerful role in improving supplier, customer, and internal resilience. Moreover, employee skills only facilitate internal and customer resilience but have no significant impact on supplier resilience. By contrast, employee incentives do not influence the dimension of SC resilience. It was also found that both internal and customer resilience have positive effects on operational performance, while supplier resilience has no significant effect. The findings contribute to literature and practice.
Globalization brings opportunities for manufacturers to benefit from their global supply chain (SC) operations; however, they experience unprecedented challenges (Dubey et al., 2019; Rajaguru and Matanda, 2013). Supply chain management (SCM) is facing an increasingly complex, dynamic, and uncertain operating environment, due to trade protectionism, new technology iteration, pandemic around the world, and diversified customer demand. However, SC designs that reduce costs and improve efficiency, such as Just in Time (JIT), lean production, zero inventory, and supply base reduction, may weaken their buffer capacities to cope with unforeseen changes. As a result, SCs have become increasingly fragile and vulnerable to disruption risks, which may potentially bring huge losses to manufacturers (Hendricks and Singhal, 2010).
SC resilience has been recognized as a critical capability to effectively respond to and recover from SC disruptions and gain competitive advantage in a dynamic and turbulent business environment (Blackhurst et al., 2011; Burnard et al., 2018). Consistent with Pournader et al. (2016), SC resilience was divided into three dimensions: internal, supplier, and customer resilience. This division mirrors the features of the interacting relationships of SC entities and their functional differences. However, building a resilient SC is not an easy task for firms to invest extra resources and reconfigure their SCs. Previous literature mainly explored SC resilience stimulants from technical and relational perspectives while neglecting employees’ role in managing SC disruptions (Appendix B for more details). The lack of employee skills during the recent pandemic poses great challenges to the recovery of the disrupted SC, such as changes in working routines, anxieties and fears among employees, and job skill shifts in remote working conditions (Butterick and Charlwood, 2021).
6. Conclusions and limitations
Drawing on the AMO view, this study contributes to the HRM-SCM interface by investigating the effects of HRM practices on the three dimensions of SC resilience and operational performance. Based on data collected from 206 Chinese manufacturers, it was found that different sets of HRM practices have different influences on SC resilience. Moreover, in terms of operational benefits, internal and customer resilience play vital roles, while supplier resilience has no significant effect. These findings enrich the literature and have several managerial implications.
Although this study makes both theoretical and practical contributions to literature, it has several limitations. First, the sample pool used in this study was confined to China, which may limit the generalizability and underestimate the crosscultural influence on the HRM-SCM interface. Future studies can be designed to compare differences between countries and regions. Second, this study employed cross-sectional and self-reported data to verify the relationship between constructs, which limited its ability to reveal causal relationships. This study provides opportunities for future research to collect objective and longitudinal data to validate our findings. Third, although three sets of HRM practices are identified and incorporated from the AMO perspective, they may not capture every aspect of HRM practices. Thus, future research could examine other HRM practices for managing SC disruptions.