Improving Supply Chain Performance Through Organizational Design: Insights from key suppliers to the United States Air Force

David J. Ketchen, Jr., T. Russell Crook, James G. Combs, J. David Patterson


Creating organizational designs that maximize performance is a key goal for many executives. We sought to uncover ways that a giant organization – the United States Department of Defense (DoD) – could improve its performance via organazational design changes. Based on input from 80 executives who collectively represent over 60 defense contractors, we found that the DoD could become more efficient and effective by (1) relying on relational contracting within its supply chains, (2) designing better reward systems, (3) focusing on results rather than processes when managing its suppliers, (4) moving its supply chains toward a best value approach, and (5) investing strategically in its workforce. In drawing implications from our findings for organizations in general, we highlight companies that have reaped rewards from making these five moves in the past.


Organization design; supply chain management; strategic management; performance

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ISSN: 2245-408X

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