Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration


Operations and Supply Chain Management


Business Administration

First Advisor

Mehmet Gokhan Yalcin


Supply Chain Management (SCM) research was insufficiently equipped to provide managers with a comprehensive range of insights for effectively managing Supply Chain Flows (SCF) in their complex networks during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence, many firms’ supply chains failed, and many others struggled to survive. Academics’ and practitioners' inability to effectively manage SCF during COVID-19 can be attributed in large part to a lack of proper understanding regarding the concept of SCF. Upon reviewing the SCM literature, it was revealed that no framework is available that can help conceptualize SCF. As a consequence, the discipline has failed to uniformly agree upon what qualifies as a flow and what does not. While the majority of research in SCM has primarily focused on three main flows - material, finances, and information - the recent onset of COVID-19 has presented new challenges to supply chains, causing certain lesser-acknowledged flows to become more crucial or prominent in managing supply chains. As a result, there is a growing need to expand the normative boundaries of SCF to encompass these overlooked flows. However, without adopting a uniform agreed-upon framework, SCM researchers will be unable to do this successfully. This dissertation aims to address this knowledge gap and provide a foundation for continuing efforts to better understand the concept of SCF.

Using an abduction approach, manuscript one of the dissertation makes a preliminary effort to present foundational premises about the concept of SCF by developing the SCF framework and identifying two significantly distinct additional flows that are overlooked in normative SCM literature but are pertinent to SCM performance. Manuscript two of the dissertation, conducted prior to manuscript one study, highlights the emergence of various additional flows in the third-party logistics (3PL) setting during COVID-19 and indicates the tensions among these flows, as experienced by the 3PL managers. This manuscript provides valuable support to the abduction process outlined in manuscript one. Manuscript three advances the abduction process by conducting a behavioral experiment to investigate the effects of paradoxical leader behavior (PLB) exhibited by supervisors to address the tensions that emerge when frontline employees (human flow) interact with Industry 4.0 technologies (capital equipment flow) within a 3PL hub setting. Toward the end of the dissertation, two conceptual notes are presented. Conceptual note 1 discusses the use of Artificial Intelligence applications for conducting qualitative research, and Conceptual note 2 sets the ground for future research on flow configuration and capability development using the SCF framework.

The purpose of this dissertation is not to challenge the relevance of the three main flows but to present a preliminary effort towards developing the concept of SCF. My argument in this dissertation is that the bounded understanding of flows in SCM has confined the potential of researchers to analyze them. Consequently, it has restricted the opportunities to widen the scope to incorporate flows that may be as vital as the three most acknowledged flows. As mentioned by Melnyk et al. (2009), we live in a world where a supply chain “is more complex, and that continues to evolve.” (p. 4630), I hope this dissertation will provide a foundation for continuing efforts to better understand the concept of SCF and identify various additional flows that may help advance the ever-evolving SCM knowledge.

Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025