Career Patterns of Supply Chain Executives: An Optimal Matching Analysis

Past event — 28 May 2014

Kühne Logistics University
Grosser Grasbrook 17, 20457 Hamburg

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Christoph Flöthmann, PhD


Roland Berger, Hamburg

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Traditionally, the bulk of the research in SCM & OM has addressed problems by using mathematical models or empirically investigating real world phenomena. Only a small fraction of papers have focused on the people who manage supply chains. This exploratory study aims to analyze the career patterns of supply chain professionals using the resumes of 307 supply chain executives based in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The data were gathered from the leading German social network for business professionals, XING (which is comparable to LinkedIn). Our findings create new knowledge about educational backgrounds and career paths that lead to senior SCM positions. Toward this end, we introduce a new methodology into the SCM literature, optimal matching analysis. Optimal matching analysis is a highly regarded methodology from sociology that is virtually unknown in management research, and we combine this method with hierarchical cluster analysis to identify six career paths of supply chain executives. Despite the individual nature of careers, we find evidence of six common career paths that differ especially in previous functional experience but also in other career characteristics. The majority of SC executives began their careers after completing their university education. Exceptional careers, however, were driven by a combination of factors, i.e., starting off with a graduate degree or PhD and climbing the ladder through SCM or consulting functions. The diversity of the six identified career patterns, all of which end in SC executive positions, mirrors the extraordinary, cross-functional nature of the SCM profession.

About the presenter

Christoph Flöthmann joined the KLU as a PhD candidate in Supply Chain Management in September 2012. Beforehand, he studied Business Administration with majors in SCM & Management Science, Finance and Transport Economics at the University of Cologne (Diploma degree). During the course of studies, he also gained first practical experiences thanks to internship positions with OSCAR Student Consulting GmbH, Bayer MaterialScience AG and DB Schenker AG in Germany and Indonesia. His tasks during these employments comprehended the conduction of a global material flow analysis, a customer satisfaction survey and a market/ competition analysis.
Christoph investigates career patterns of Supply Chain Managers and the intersection of Human Resource and Supply Chain Management  by applying empirical approaches (e.g. surveys) and expert interview as research methods.

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About the Seminar

The KLU research seminar series is a regular meeting of PhD students, Post-Docs and professors who conduct research in the field of logistics and supply chain management. The research seminar is open to the public and we happily welcome guests.