Building an antifragile supply chain: A capability blueprint for resilience and post-disruption growth

Publication Name

Journal of Supply Chain Management


Considerable research has focused on how supply chains can better handle disruptions. Consequently, concepts such as supply chain robustness and engineering resilience have emerged, with the dominant emphasis being that disruptions are a wholly bad thing to be avoided or resisted. However, recent discourse in the supply chain disruption management literature, such as the social–ecological interpretation of supply chain resilience, suggests that disruptions can be positioned more positively as potential catalysts for growth. Yet little is known about the capabilities required for a supply chain to grow following disruption. The emerging concept of supply chain antifragility focuses specifically on growth, providing an arrowhead for investigating what enables firms to grow following disruption. Utilizing a metaphorical transfer method, this research translates the capabilities of individuals—those who grow psychologically and emotionally after experiencing trauma—into supply chain capabilities that enhance antifragility. Five key capabilities for building antifragility in supply chains are identified: supply chain mindfulness, supply chain transformative learning, supply chain plasticity, supply chain bricolage, and supply chain collaboration. Furthermore, a hierarchy of capabilities is revealed that points to a sequential approach to capitalizing on the potential growth opportunities presented by supply chain disruptions. The findings are sense-checked through focus groups with practitioners, informing the development of five propositions. This research contributes to theory development on handling supply chain disruptions by providing a capability blueprint for post-disruption growth that complements the literature on social–ecological supply chain resilience. Finally, this research highlights the value of metaphorical transfer as an innovative approach for understanding contemporary supply chain phenomena and advancing novel theoretical frameworks.

Open Access Status

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