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Towards conceptualizing reverse service supply chains

He, Qile; Ghobadian, Abby; Gallear, David; Beh, Loo See; O’Regan, Nicholas


Qile He

Abby Ghobadian

David Gallear

Loo See Beh


© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – Recognizing the heterogeneity of services, this paper aims to clarify the characteristics of forward and the corresponding reverse supply chains of different services. Design/methodology/approach – The paper develops a two-dimensional typology matrix, representing four main clusters of services according to the degree of input standardization and the degree of output tangibility. Based on this matrix, this paper develops a typology and parsimonious conceptual models illustrating the characteristics of forward and the corresponding reverse supply chains of each cluster of services. Findings – The four main clusters of service supply chains have different characteristics. This provides the basis for the identification, presentation and explanation of the different characteristics of their corresponding reverse service supply chains. Research limitations/implications – The findings of this research can help future researchers to analyse, map and model forward and reverse service supply chains, and to identify potential research gaps in the area. Practical/implications – The findings of the research can help managers of service firms to gain better visibility of their forward and reverse supply chains, and refine their business models to help extend their reverse/closed-loop activities. Furthermore, the findings can help managers to better optimize their service operations to reduce service gaps and potentially secure new value-adding opportunities. Originality/value – This paper is the first, to the authors' knowledge, to conceptualize the basic structure of the forward and reverse service supply chains while dealing with the high level of heterogeneity of services.


O’Regan, N., He, Q., Ghobadian, A., Gallear, D., Beh, L. S., & O'Regan, N. (2016). Towards conceptualizing reverse service supply chains. Supply Chain Management, 21(2), 166-179.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 15, 2015
Publication Date Mar 14, 2016
Journal Supply Chain Management
Print ISSN 1359-8546
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 2
Pages 166-179
Keywords service, service supply chain, forward supply chain, reverse supply chain, SCM
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The final, published version of the article can be found at


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