Supply chain management scholar’s research impact: moderated mediation analysis

Published date18 March 2019
Date18 March 2019
AuthorYucheng Zhang,Yenchun Jim Wu,Mark Goh,Xinhong Liu
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology,Information behaviour & retrieval,Information user studies,Metadata,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet
Supply chain management
scholars research impact:
moderated mediation analysis
Yucheng Zhang
Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China
Yenchun Jim Wu
Graduate Institute of Global Business and Strategy,
National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
Mark Goh
The Logistics Institute-Asia Pacific and NUS Business School, Singapore, and
Xinhong Liu
Research Institute of Economics and Management,
Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to draw on social capital theory to develop a model to explain the
determinants of a supply chain management scholars academic research impact.
Design/methodology/approach Drawing from a database of 450 supply chain management scholars in
different countries collected from ResearchGate and the World Bank, the bootstrapping method was applied
on the moderated mediation analysis.
Findings Analysis of the mediating role of a scholars social capital suggests that social capital theory has
a strong explanatory power on the relationship between a scholars research skill and academic impact.
To account for the boundary effect at the country-level, the authors further examine if this mechanismdiffers
by country in the supply chain management research context.
Research limitations/implications The findings from this study are from a single research area, which
limits the generalizability of the study. Although the data are collected from different sources, including
ResearchGate and the World Bank, it is cross-sectional in nature. The variables in this model do not have
strong causal relationships.
Practical implications The results suggestthat supply chain managementscholars can reap the benefits
of their socialcapital. Specifically,scholars can enhance theiracademic impact by increasingtheir social capital.
Originality/value The results provide a reference for supply chain management scholars keen on
enhancing their academic research impact. It also provides a reference to explain why country-level
differences can influence these scholars.
Keywords Social media, Social capital, Universities, Research, Analysis, Bibliographies
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Scientific scholars usually obtainpeer recognition and funding opportunities by sharing their
research outcomes. The most popularand common method of knowledge sharing is to share
their publications through academic social websites. The literature suggests that social
networkingsites are better suited for networkingand maintaining a professionalimage in the
academic community (Dermentzi et al., 2016) Practically, scholars have been adopting
academic social websites professionally for their research endeavors because of the
Library Hi Tech
Vol. 37 No. 1, 2019
pp. 118-135
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/LHT-07-2017-0149
Received 27 July 2017
Revised 31 March 2018
Accepted 6 April 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This work was supported by the Young Scientists Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of
China (Grant No. 71602163), Young Scientists Fund from the Ministry of Education of Humanities and
Social Sciences Project in China (Grant No. 16YJC630171), and the National Social Science Foundation of
China (Project No. 12CGL023), and Ministry of Science & Technology, Taiwan (MOST 105-2918-I-003-002).
convenience of forming new connections with their peers (Yu et al., 2016; Kuo et al., 2017).
Today, scholarscan collaborate, publish,and promote their work online(De Vocht et al., 2017).
Wang and Chen (2012)further suggest that when more memberswith similar interests join an
online community, network externalities can form, and interaction ties would occur.
Furthermore, these users are more likely to participate regularly because they believe that
their friends or reference groups are concerned with their participation (Yu et al., 2016).
To date, ResearchGateis the largest online social platformused in the scholar community
for knowledge sharing (Yu et al., 2016; Thelwall and Kousha, 2015). ResearchGate was
founded by Madisch in 2008, as a means to transform the way researchers conduct their
research (Thelwall and Kousha, 2015). On ResearchGate, researchers can exchange research
ideas and share articles freely to facilitate collaboration without additional cost from other
researchers elsewhere. To some degree, ResearchGate is the Facebookequivalent for
scholars. On ResearchGate, users can announce their findings,communicate with others, and
keep abreast of the other scholarspublications. The uniqueness of ResearchGate is that its
website not only allows member researchers to publish and share their publications but also
provides a platform for the researchers to interact with others informally. ResearchGate
combines both bibliometrics and altmetrics to create a general performance measurement for
organizations and researchers alike (Yu et al., 2016). Traditional bibliometric, a performance
metric, is used for evaluating the number and impact of research publications.
In ResearchGate, the RG score, an impact point, represents a scholars academic impact.
In ResearchGate, supply chain management is a large research group which is rapidly
growing in numberand quality. Given that international trade has increased rapidly inrecent
decades, more supply chain management scholars aredirecting their research to explainhow
commercial supply chains manage their supply chains efficiently to facilitate trade.
This increase is accompanied by the growth in human and social capital in the logistics
industry (Hartmann and Herb, 2014). Thus, the study on supply chain management should
follow apacewith economic development (Niet al., 2016; Shah and Brueckner,2012; Lee, 2015).
In particular,the study of the global supplychain management scholars academic impact can
lend an international perspectiveto supply chain management and can helpthe community to
have a better understanding of this scientific area (Rao et al., 2013).
Overall, this studymakes three contributions. First,this research extends previousstudies
that focused on the scholars academic impact. While research has found that the scholars
research ability, such as research skills, can influence their research performance including
academic impact (Dakhli and De Clercq, 2004), we lack sufficient knowledge to explain this.
Therefore, Hong and Zhao (2016) introduce an information communication mechanism to
explain how network composition influences scientific performance. Liu et al. (2017) use
meta-analysis to explore the relationship between social network site use and academic
performance.However, these research works overlooked the underlyingmechanism. As such,
our paper exploresthe underlying mechanismof the relationship between a scholarsresearch
skill and the corresponding academic impact by testing the mediation effect of the scholars
social capital. Second, this study examines the boundary effect of this mediation process.
Specifically, the investigation of the economic development as the country-level moderator
facilitates an understanding of the country-level variation. Third, multiple data sets were
included in our analysis, including ResearchGate and the World Bank database, thus
providing a rich and robust empirical foundation for investigation. For example, while
Yu et al. (2016) selected 300 supply chain management ResearchGatemembers, we expanded
the databaseand collected data of 450 supplychain management scholarsfrom universities in
various countries with country-level data from the World Bank.
In this paper, we first introduce five hypotheses posited from the theoretical relationships
amongst research skill, social capital, and a countrys economic development. Next, we test
these hypothesized relationships and analyze whether the hypotheses are supported.
Supply chain

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