Original Research

The deployment of theory in logistics research: A systematic literature review

Brian Fisher-Holloway, Masilonyane Mokhele
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 16 | a716 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v16i0.716 | © 2022 Brian Fisher-Holloway, Masilonyane Mokhele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 November 2021 | Published: 27 July 2022

About the author(s)

Brian Fisher-Holloway, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Masilonyane Mokhele, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Contemporary economic systems are characterised by the increasing volumes and flow of goods. This attribute highlights the importance of logistics wherein one of the key focus areas pertains to the movement and storage of freight at different geographical scales.

Objective: In the light of the importance of theory in research as well as the significance of geographical location in logistics processes, the objective of the paper is to analyse the extent, scope and gaps of theory utilisation in logistics-related research.

Method: The paper is based on a systematic literature review approach that encompassed 243 sources. The searches were conducted on the Internet database platforms using keywords such as logistics, logistics activities, geography of logistics activities, supply chain management, logistics theories and freight models.

Results: The relationship between logistics research and theory is ambiguous in that the majority of the research does not explicitly incorporate theory. Logistics particularly benefits from theory originating from other disciplines, such as economics, strategic management and marketing; however, the use of theories that originate from human geography has been limited in logistics research.

Conclusion: The drive to understand the movement and storage of freight at different scales has relevance to human geography, particularly the subdisciplines of transport geography and economic geography. It is therefore recommended that logistics research consider the theoretical frameworks originating from human geography.


Keywords

logistics; logistics theory; location theory; supply chain management; theoretical incidence

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