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Lindskog, Magnus
Publikasjoner (10 av 12) Visa alla publikasjoner
Lindskog, M. (2012). Actors’ systems thinking in a logistics context: An application of cognitive mapping.
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Actors’ systems thinking in a logistics context: An application of cognitive mapping
2012 (engelsk)Rapport (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Research has indicated that the level of logistics development in many companies still is not as sophisticated as can be expected from visionary outlooks in literature, especially those relating to the promises of Supply Chain Management (SCM). Although there hardly exists any universally accepted definition of what SCM is, certain related themes such as coordination, integration, and cooperation are often repeated in different guises. Although sometimes expressed implicitly, these are often seen as imperative for SCM success. Coordination of logistics along an entire supply chain is put forth as having a potential to lend great benefits, but it requires the chain to be “… managed as one single entity where end customer satisfaction is the superior goal for all involved actors. This demands collaboration on a strategic level and that all involved actors have a true supply chain orientation.”

The majority of contemporary logistics practices are however far from this vision. There are sporadic reports on the odd case in which logistics collaboration have rendered exceptional results, but the majority of companies have not yet reached the full potential. As put by Spekman et al: “… business has yet to crack the code … talk is cheap and supply chain management is still only part of today’s jargon.” Companies are reported to, at best, focus internal optimisations and have neither managed to implement SCM in reality, nor adopt the underlying philosophy.

One possible explanation for this might be that the vast majority of logistics research neglects a very important factor: actors. It is the actors1 who carry out all the tasks and activities, from strategic to operative, of the logistics practices. Therefore the actors are of utmost importance for which logistics solutions that are implemented. As put so aptly by Skjoett-Larsen (2000): “In the end, it is the employees and not the systems and processes that will ensure solutions to the logistics tasks and provide the company with the necessary competitiveness.  Therefore, it is crucial not to underestimate the human and cultural aspects in the implementati on of projects of change in the company.” (p. 386).

Anything that happens in the logistics practices of enterprises, apart from ‘catastrophic’ events such as accidents, are the effect of human decisions and actions. Decisions in a logistics system span a range from strategic, e.g. localization of facilities or outsourcing of entire service bundles, to operative, e.g. batch sizing, picking routes in a warehouse, or issuing dispatch orders. Actions are the effectuation of such decisions as well as any physical and administrative tasks that are necessary for the logistics to function. We can see an immense spectrum of actions and decisions dispersed over time and space, made by different actors in the logistics practices.

In a recent publication, actors are in fact the very basis for defining logistics: “Logistics and supply chain systems are networks of interacting human decision makers.” This contrasts the finding of Gammelgaard (2004), who, based on the framework of three methodological approaches presented by Arbnor & Bjerke (1997), concludes that it is the analytical and systems approaches that so far have dominated logistics. Regarding the third, the actors approach, it is stated: “The implication is that this approach may not be relevant in logistics, or maybe logistics researchers have not yet seen its potential for investigating new aspects of their field.” This paper intends to show that the latter alternative is most likely, by demonstrating the relevance of an actors approach (an interpretive approach).

To be more specific, the purpose of this paper is to apply an interpretive approach to actors’ systems thinking. The aim is to explore whether the systems thinking of actors within a mutual context (i.e. a certain shared logistics practice) differs, even in a context where a high degree of homogeneity in systems thinking can be assumed a priori. If differences can be demonstrated, it calls for the logistics research community to alter its systems thinking.

The purpose is pursued by first discussing the systems perspective that thus far seems to have dominated the discipline. Thereafter an alternative, ‘soft’, viewpoint regarding systems is presented, and from this perspective it is argued that an approach that can accommodate for differences in individual systems thinking is necessary. In order to handle this, a construct from cognitive psychology (mental models) as well as techniques for studying these (cognitive mapping) are adopted. These are then applied on a group of actors who are all related to one shared  logistics practice, a retail chain store based in Sweden. Causal maps are created for all actors, and these are then compared in order to identify any similarities or discrepancies. The paper is wrapped up with a discussion of which implications the finding from this actors perspective can have for both research and practice.

s. 58
LIU-IEI-WP ; 2012:1
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77116 (URN)LIU‐IEI‐WP‐12/0001 (ISRN)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2012-05-04 Laget: 2012-05-04 Sist oppdatert: 2012-05-08bibliografisk kontrollert
Lindskog, M. (2012). Mythbusting in the logistics domain: a second look at systems theory usage. Logistics Research, 5(1-2), 3-20
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Mythbusting in the logistics domain: a second look at systems theory usage
2012 (engelsk)Inngår i: Logistics Research, ISSN 1865-035X, Vol. 5, nr 1-2, s. 3-20Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Logistics has been said to rest on a foundation of systems theory. Recent research has however indicated that such claims merely are myths that have been passed on. These myths are in this paper put to the test. An international survey of logistics/SCM academics rendered 178 usable responses. Two main research questions are examined. One concerns the views on and valuation of the terms systems approach, systems thinking, and systems theory, in relation both to each other and to the logistics discipline. The other concerns the extent to which logistics researchers are familiar with and have explicitly cited scholars that are central to a number of different schools of systems theory. Results point clearly in one direction: myth busted. That is, there is little support for claiming that logistics is rooted in systems theory. Also, more evidence is found that the scope of systems theory that actually has influenced the discipline is rather narrow. There are hints of myopic tendencies. The paper is wrapped up with a glimpse of one possible remedy for this, a rather recent strand of systems theory labelled critical systems thinking.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Springer, 2012
Systems theory, Logistics discipline, Survey, Myopia, Critical systems thinking
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77115 (URN)10.1007/s12159-012-0078-9 (DOI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2012-05-04 Laget: 2012-05-04 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-07bibliografisk kontrollert
Lindskog, M. (2012). On systems thinking in logistics management - A critical perspective. (Doctoral dissertation). Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>On systems thinking in logistics management - A critical perspective
2012 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Systems thinking. Systems theory. The systems approach. All these concepts have in various guises been claimed as central to logistics management, since its dawning in the mid twentieth century. Such claims are the starting point of this dissertation, the purpose of which is to contribute to an increased understanding of systems thinking in logistics management research, both present and for future advances. The primary unit of analysis in this dissertation is thus logistics management research.

The purpose is pursued through a strategy of triangulation of research approaches, via two research objectives:

  • To describe the nature of systems thinking in logistics management research.
  • To explore the merits for logistics management research of an interpretive approach to actors’ systems thinking.

The term systems thinking in this dissertation denotes any somewhat ‘organised’ bodies of thought with aspirations to be ‘holistic’ in the sense of aiming for comprehensiveness. This part relates mostly to the systems part of the term. With regard to the other part, systems thinking is also regarded as a term that encompasses thinking about, and in terms of, systems; either that of researchers or that of actors in logistics practices.

Systems thinking can sometimes be theorised on in such a way that it seems fair to label it as systems theory. Another term that is also frequently employed is systems approach. This denotes any approach to intervene in and/or conduct research on enterprises, with a holistic ambition. Such approaches can or cannot be informed by systems theory. By approach is meant the fundamental assumptions of the effort, such as ontological and epistemological positions, views on human nature, and methodologies.

This dissertation employs an approach informed by a strand of systems theory labelled Critical Systems Thinking (CST). This builds on a pluralist strategy, which entails an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of all types of systems approaches, and thus strives towards putting them to work under such circumstances in which they are best suited.

The first objective is pursued by means of a combined inductive-deductive approach presented mainly through two peer-reviewed, published journal articles. The first is an extensive literature review of academic publications in logistics management; the second is a survey of logistics management academics. Results show that the systems thinking within the discipline most often is not informed by systems theory, and is oriented towards a narrow section of the available systems approaches. This is an approach that builds on an objective world-view (realist ontology), and which seeks knowledge in terms of different kinds of law-like regularities. There are variations to the kinds of knowledge that are sought, in the sense that some search for deeper, underlying generative mechanisms (structuralist epistemology), some seek causal relationships among observable phenomena (positivist epistemology). The common view on human nature is determinist, and methodologies are often quantitative. It is concluded that logistics management employs a functionalist systems approach, which implicitly assumes homogeneity in actors’ systems thinking in mutual contexts (i.e. shared logistics practices).

The second objective is pursued by adopting an interpretive systems approach, thus embracing a nominalist ontology and interpretivist epistemology, in order to explore what benefits such a perspective can lend to logistics management. Informed by the pluralist commitment of CST, theoretical constructs and methods grounded in cognitive psychology are employed to study logistics management practitioners’ systems thinking through cognitive mapping. If this reveals heterogeneities in systems thinking among actors of a mutual context, in which a high degree of homogeneity can be expected, the rationale is that the dominant homogeneity assumption is insufficient. The study, presented through an unpublished working paper, concludes that actors’ systems thinking can differ in ways that render the assumptions of the functionalist systems approach inadequate. More thought, debate, and research on an interpretive systems approach within logistics management is called for.

With constant expansions in the scope of ambition for logistics management in mind – towards larger enterprise systems in the spirit of supply chain management, towards more goals for enterprises than the traditional financial ones, and towards new application areas (e.g. healthcare) – it is recognised that more and more actors become stakeholders in the practices that logistics management research seeks to incorporate within its domain of normative ambitions. This leads to an expanding scope of voices that ought to be heard in order to legitimise efforts to improve logistics management practices. This in turn motivates that we should seek to accommodate not only interpretive systems approaches, but also emancipatory, in order to ensure normative prescriptions that are legitimate from the perspectives of as many stakeholders as possible, not only from the common a priori efficiency perspectives of functionalist logistics management research.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. s. 144 (including appendix 1-2)
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1456
Logistics management, Systems thinking, Systems theory, Systems approach, Critical, Interpretive, Actors
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77119 (URN)978-91-7519-878-1 (ISBN)
2012-06-01, Kåkenhus, K3, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 10:15 (engelsk)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2012-05-08 Laget: 2012-05-04 Sist oppdatert: 2019-12-10bibliografisk kontrollert
Lindskog, M. (2012). Systems theory - myth or mainstream?. Logistics Research, 4(1-2), 63-81
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Systems theory - myth or mainstream?
2012 (engelsk)Inngår i: Logistics Research, ISSN 1865-035X, Vol. 4, nr 1-2, s. 63-81Artikkel i tidsskrift (Annet vitenskapelig) Published
Abstract [en]

Systems thinking has by some been proposed as the ‘hard core’ of our discipline. Others have claimed that logistics rests on systems theory. However, glancing at how these notions are used outside of the discipline, there is reason to believe that there is more to systems theory than has been noted within our discipline. This paper therefore investigates the adoption of systems theory within the logistics discipline. The paper is entirely theoretical. It begins with a review of what is judged to be the main strands of the systems theoretical field. Thereafter, the adoption of these within the logistics discipline is studied, by means of a literature review that spans a total of 2,537 peer-reviewed journal articles as well as a sample of widespread basic textbooks. The findings indicate that a holistic or systems approach seems to have a somewhat central role in the logistics discipline. However, systems theory or systems thinking in its various forms—as it appears to be treated by those various scholars who deal with these notions explicitly—seem not to. Also, it seems that systems theory was more explicitly treated in the early days of our discipline, having become less visible explicitly in more recent publications.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2012
Systems theory – Systems thinking – Systems approach – Logistics discipline – Literature review
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76176 (URN)10.1007/s12159-011-0062-9 (DOI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2012-03-29 Laget: 2012-03-29 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-07
Oskarsson, B. & Lindskog, M. (2010). Diagnostic testing as a basis for differentiated course design in logistics and SCM: An evaluation of the systems thinking inventory. In: Proceedings of the 22nd NOFOMA conference. Paper presented at NOFOMA, The Nordic Logistics Research Network (pp. 1163-1178).
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Diagnostic testing as a basis for differentiated course design in logistics and SCM: An evaluation of the systems thinking inventory
2010 (engelsk)Inngår i: Proceedings of the 22nd NOFOMA conference, 2010, s. 1163-1178Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
Systems thinking, Logistics education, Differentiated course design, Differentiated instruction, Diagnostic testing, Beer game, Bullwhip effect
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-62588 (URN)978-87-92471-05-5 (ISBN)
NOFOMA, The Nordic Logistics Research Network
Tilgjengelig fra: 2010-11-30 Laget: 2010-11-30 Sist oppdatert: 2012-01-13
Lindskog, M. (2008). Systems Thinking - Hard(ly) Core?. In: Nofoma 2008,2008 (pp. 409). Helsinki: Hanken
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Systems Thinking - Hard(ly) Core?
2008 (engelsk)Inngår i: Nofoma 2008,2008, Helsinki: Hanken , 2008, s. 409-Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

 Purpose of this paper -Systems thinking- has been proposed as the -hard core- of our discipline. However, glancing at how the notion is used outside of the discipline, there is reason to believe that there is more to systems thinking than has been noted within our discipline. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the notion -systems thinking- and its role within the logistics discipline. Design/methodology/approach The paper is conceptual and based on a review of the roots of the notion of -systems thinking- in the logistics discipline, by means of a extensive structured literature review of published logistics research and basic text books. The review encompasses a total of 2 007 journal articles, of which 23 discuss systems thinking explicitly, as well as four widespread text books. Findings A systems approach seems to be central to the logistics discipline. However systems thinking¸ as it appears to be treated by the community of scholars who deal with this notion explicitly, seems not to. Also, it seems that the systems approach was more explicitly treated in the early days of our discipline, having become more embedded, i.e. less visible explicitly, in more recent journal publications. Research limitations/implications The literature review will only cover certain publications within the logistics area, derived from commonly acknowledged journals and databases. Publications not in the form of journal articles, not easily available in full text, and/or in other languages than English or Swedish are omitted. Also, only a representative sample of basic text books is covered. What is original/value of paper A structured attempt to bring clarity to one of the anecdotes of our discipline: that its foundation is systems thinking.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Helsinki: Hanken, 2008
systems thinking, systems theory, systems approach, logistics discipline
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-43582 (URN)74284 (Lokal ID)74284 (Arkivnummer)74284 (OAI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2009-10-10 Laget: 2009-10-10
Lindskog, M., Abrahamsson, M. & Aronsson, H. (2007). Visualisation for System Learning in Supply Chains. International Journal of Learning and Change, 2(2), 170-191
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Visualisation for System Learning in Supply Chains
2007 (engelsk)Inngår i: International Journal of Learning and Change, ISSN 1740-2875, E-ISSN 1740-2883, Vol. 2, nr 2, s. 170-191Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Contemporary supply chains are vastly complex, and decisions made by actors have system-wide consequences that these might not be able to foresee. There are gaps between 'best practice'-founded theory and actual practice in supply chains. To remedy this, we argue, the supply chain actors need to enhance systems knowledge. There is a need to support development of mental models about systemic structures in the supply chain. This is difficult, if not outright impossible, to achieve in real-life settings. A supply chain visualisation microworld engine has therefore been developed, which forms the basis of a learning arena that supports system learning for the supply chain actors.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
InderScience Publishers, 2007
Logistics; mental models; microworld engines; simulation; supply chain management; SCM; systemic structures; visualisation; learning; knowledge management.
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-40658 (URN)10.1504/IJLC.2007.015508 (DOI)53754 (Lokal ID)53754 (Arkivnummer)53754 (OAI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2009-10-10 Laget: 2009-10-10 Sist oppdatert: 2018-05-02bibliografisk kontrollert
Lindskog, M. (2006). Furnitura Manufacturing. In: Arlbjørn, Jan Stentoft (Ed.), Nordic case reader in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: (pp. 161-167). Danmark: University Press of Southern Denmark
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Furnitura Manufacturing
2006 (engelsk)Inngår i: Nordic case reader in Logistics and Supply Chain Management / [ed] Arlbjørn, Jan Stentoft, Danmark: University Press of Southern Denmark , 2006, s. 161-167Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

While supply chain management (SCM) and logistics are universal concepts, they are certainly not implemented the same worldwide. This case reader provides audience with a diversity of topics, industries and applications that are unique to the European region, yet with lessons for firms located anywhere in the world. With 20 cases written by a prestigious list of contributors, this case reader provides students with SCM and logistics strategies of a variety of companies in the Nordic region

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Danmark: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2006
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-36113 (URN)29988 (Lokal ID)978-87-7674-135-8 (ISBN)87-7674-135-4 (ISBN)29988 (Arkivnummer)29988 (OAI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2009-10-10 Laget: 2009-10-10 Sist oppdatert: 2013-09-10bibliografisk kontrollert
Abrahamsson, M., Aronsson, H. & Lindskog, M. (2004). Beyond the Beer-Game: An Arena for Visualising Complex Logistics Systems.. In: Annual NOFOMA Conference for Nordic Researchers in Logistics: Challenging Boundaries with Logistics.,2004. Linköping: Linköpings universitet
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Beyond the Beer-Game: An Arena for Visualising Complex Logistics Systems.
2004 (engelsk)Inngår i: Annual NOFOMA Conference for Nordic Researchers in Logistics: Challenging Boundaries with Logistics.,2004, Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2004Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2004
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-23462 (URN)2917 (Lokal ID)2917 (Arkivnummer)2917 (OAI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2009-10-07 Laget: 2009-10-07 Sist oppdatert: 2018-05-02
Lindskog, M. (2003). Changing to third party logistics. (Licentiate dissertation). : Ekonomiska institutionen
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Changing to third party logistics
2003 (engelsk)Licentiatavhandling, monografi (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Third party logistics (TPL), the procurement of an integrated set of logistics services in a long-term relationship between a shipper (goods owner) and a service provider, is today a viable option for how companies carry out their logistics activities. Very little has been written on implementation or change issues in a TPL setting; these issues are identified as important, but not elaborated. There is however reason to believe that implementation of TPL arrangements, or rather establishment thereof, involves a complex change process involving substantial change for a wide range of actors in both the shipper’s and the provider’s organisation.

When comparing literature that deals with the TPL establishment process with a stream of research that is concerned with logistics change, it comes to light that there is a discrepancy between the theoretical and methodological foundations of the former works, and what is written in these pieces regarding the process. It is concluded that recommendations for how to manage the establishment process are given without being founded in a theory of process, or research designs capable of studying process. The theoretical underpinnings of TPL literature are founded in a view of change as a matter of conducting rational analysis and conceiving the strategically wisest decisions for the logistics system as a whole. Implementation is viewed as an unproblematic exercise of issuing directives to affected actors, asserting that all actors are rational, therefore rationally conceived decisions will be accepted and implemented accordingly.

Therefore the overarching purpose of this research is:

To explore the change process of third party logistics establishment

To fulfil this purpose the two streams of research mentioned above are combined. A meta-model of process consisting of the three interrelated dimensions content, context, and process forms the starting point for the study of process, but this is not sufficient for a study of change; a theory of change which is capable of capturing the mechanisms of the change process as it unfolds is also needed. Therefore the theory of change of the second stream of research mentioned above is adopted.

The theory of change encompasses three models of change, which are archetypical representations of the mechanisms underlying change processes according to different assumptions of what change is and how change comes about. These models are denoted the linear, the processual, and the circular. One important aspect of this theory of change is that the approach to change should be aligned with the extent oflearning requirements on the actors who are affected by or involved in the change. An actors perspective is therefore called for, and adopted in this thesis.

This thesis is the first step of a wider research effort concerned with studying the process of establishing TPL. Therefore, of the three dimensions of change, the contentdimension is excluded from study in this thesis. Governed by the meta-model of process, two research objectives are formulated:

To explore the context within which the TPL establishment process unfolds and describe the contextual dependence of this process


To describe the change process of TPL establishment in terms of the linear, processual, and circular models of change

The empirical investigation applied is a single-case retrospective study, in which the case is the establishment process between a Swedish company and an international TPL service provider. A total of fifteen actors have been interviewed; ten on the shipper side of the dyad, five on the provider side. Although the TPL establishment process is an interorganisational process, this thesis focuses on the intraorganisational process of the shipper, why the empirical material from the other side of the dyad is not used in this thesis, The interorganisational aspect, as well as the intraorganisational side within the provider’s organisation are nevertheless important, and will be included in future research.

The interviews were carried out in an unstructured manner, in which the interviewees were asked to retell the story from their own perspectives. Actors from varying positions, who were involved in the process, are included in the study; in the total sample all groups who were most affected or involved are represented. The interviews rendered ten stories of the studied process.

These stories were then analysed by means of a pattern-matching logic, in order to seek out the important contextual dependencies of the process, and to explore the mechanisms of the change process, as it evolved in context.

After having conducted this first step of the ongoing research effort, four main conclusions can be drawn:

- The TPL establishment process is context dependent.

- Not only rational mechanisms are at play in the process.

- It is important to acknowledge actors, not only systems.

- It is important to acknowledge the process, not only the decision.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Ekonomiska institutionen, 2003. s. 289
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1028Dissertations from the International Graduate School of Management and Industrial Engineering, ISSN 1402-0793 ; 75
Third party logistics, Change, Process, Outsourcing
HSV kategori
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5125 (URN)91-7373-690-2 (ISBN)
2003-06-24, , A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (engelsk)
ISRN/Report code: LiU-TEK-LIC-2003:27Tilgjengelig fra: 2005-12-12 Laget: 2005-12-12 Sist oppdatert: 2018-05-02