[Lecture, Oct 14] The Strategic Benefits of Firm and Supply Chain Decentralization

time: 2019-10-11

Title: The Strategic Benefits of Firm and Supply Chain Decentralization

Speaker: Chunming Shi, Associate Professor, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Time:9:00 am, October 14, 2019

Venue: Room 210, Building37, Wushan Campus

Introduction to the speaker:

Dr. Chunming Shi (施春明) is an Associate Professor (with tenure) and Ph.D. dissertation supervisor in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada.  He also served as the director of the Center for Supply Chain Management. He received double bachelor degrees in electrical engineering and business administration from the University of Science and Technology of China, an M.Eng. in electrical engineering from the National University of Singapore, and a Ph.D. in operations management from the Washington State University. His research and teaching interests include Supply Chain Management, Sustainability, and Data Analytics. His research work has been published or accepted by journals such as European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of the Operational Research Society, International Journal of Production Economics, Omega, and IEEE Transactions on System, Man and Cybernetics. His research has been supported by National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Chartered Accountants of Canada. His papers received the Honourable Mention Award twice from Administrative Sciences Association of Canada.


In almost all fields of economics, business and management, a fundamental question is whether to centralize or decentralize a firm and/or a supply chain. Conventional wisdom suggests that centralization or supply chain coordination is desirable because it can eliminate inefficiencies such as double marginalization. However, there has been a persistent research stream demonstrating the strategic benefits of firm and/or supply chain decentralization. For example, it has been found that supply chain decentralization is better when selling durable goods. For another example, a firm or supply chain may want to decentralize to strategically influence external players’ decisions. In this talk, I will first attempt to review some such research from Accounting, Marketing, and Operations which shows the strategic benefit of decentralization under various contexts. I will then present some of my own research in this research stream including a recent research on partial ownerships among firms in a supply chain.