Understanding satisfaction with supply chain management careers: An exploratory study

Sean P. Goffnett, Robert L. Cook, Zachary Williams, Brian J. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose Career shifts and talent shortages in supply chain management (SCM) are evident at most occupation levels and need further attention and understanding. The purpose of this paper is to present factors that shape SCM career expectations, choices, and satisfaction and to advance career theory and research that is currently absent in SCM literature. Design/methodology/approach This study administered open-ended surveys to individuals educated and working in SCM to elicit the satisfaction and dissatisfaction that professionals derive from various aspects of their SCM careers. Resulting data were content analyzed and categorized into major themes representing career satisfiers (likes) and dissatisfiers (dislikes). Findings This exploratory study found evidence of traditional career components and the presences of objective and subjective components that transcend organizational boundaries. The results indicate an emergence of the boundaryless career concept in SCM, as the SCM career appears less dependent on a single employer. From the data emerged six major career satisfiers and seven major career dissatisfiers. Challenge is the most satisfying aspect of a SCM career. Challenge, however, may have limits, as the most dissatisfying aspect of a SCM career is the overload that can overwhelm a SCM professional in his or her career. Practical implications Career satisfaction can be readily measured and categorized to explain SCM career expectations and choices that may lead to positive or negative work outcomes. Supply chain managers could utilize the information to understand employee perceptions and behaviors that may influence performance and to contend with disruptive career shifts and looming talent shortages in SCM. Originality/value This paper introduces contemporary career theory concepts and is a first of its kind in the field that explores attitudes and perceptions toward careers in SCM, as it focuses on career satisfiers and dissatisfiers described by SCM professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-158
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Career satisfaction
  • Career success
  • Career theory
  • Supply chain management


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