Area of Expertise
- Buyer-Supplier Relationships
- Complexity Theory
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- International Business
- Management - Technology
- Operations Management
- Risk Management
- Supplier/Customer Alliances
- Sustainability Management
- Work & Health
Director, George Weston Ltd Centre for Sustainable Supply Chains
Program Director, Master of Supply Chain Management Program
Current research is on innovation and collaboration in the management of sustainable supply networks, healthcare systems and industrial health and safety.
2017 Schulich Fellowship in Research Achievement
2015 Best Associate Editor, Journal of Supply Chain Management
2011 Best Conference Paper Reviewer, Academy of Management, Operations Management Division
2011 Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting - Best Paper: Sustainability Track
2010-2012, 2007, 2004 Merit Award, Schulich School of Business,York University
2008 Emerald Literati Award of Excellence Winner
2007 Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting - Best Paper: Sustainability Track
2003 Supply Chain Transformation In The E-business Environment: Issues, Solutions, and The Future Conference - Best Paper Award
Johnston, D., Klassen, R., Pagell, M. and Veltri, A. (2020), "Values-in-Action That Support Safe Production", Journal of Safety Science, 72, 75-91.
Safe production is a sustainable approach to managing an organization’s operations that considers the interests of both management and workers as salient stakeholders in a productive and safe workplace. A supportive culture enacts values versus only espousing them. These values-in-action are beliefs shared by both management and workers that align what should happen in performing organizational routines to be safe and be productive with what actually is done. However, the operations and safety management literature provides little guidance on which values-in-action are most important to safe production and how they work together to create a supportive culture. Method: The researchers conducted exploratory case studies in 10 manufacturing plants of 9 firms. The researchers compared plant managers’ top-down perspectives on safety in the performance of work and workers’ bottom-up experiences of the safety climate and their rates of injury on the job. Each case study used data collected from interviewing multiple managers, the administration of a climate survey to workers and the examination of the plant’s injury rates over time as reported to its third party health and safety insurer. Results: The researchers found that plants with four values-in-action —a commitment to safety, discipline, prevention and participation—were capable of safe production, while plants without those values were neither safe nor productive. Where culture and climate aligned lower rates of injury were experienced. Discussion and conclusion: The four value-in-actions must all be present and work together in a self-reinforcing manner to engage workers and managers in achieving safe production. Practical application: Managers of both operations and safety functions do impact safety outcomes such as reducing injuries by creating a participatory environment that encourage learning that improves both safety and production routines.
Johnston, D., Lévesque, M., Pagell, M. and Shevchenko, A. (2020), "Preventing Supplier Non-Conformance: Extending the Agency Theory Perspective", International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 40(3), 315-341.
The supply chain management literature and agency theory suggest that preventing supplier non-conformance—a supplier’s failure to conform to the requirements of the buyer—requires monitoring supplier behavior. However, case studies collected to explore how buyers monitored suppliers revealed an unexpected empirical phenomenon. Some buyers believed they could prevent non-conformance by either trusting their suppliers or relying on a third party, without monitoring their behavior. The purpose of this article is to examine conditions when buyers should monitor supplier behavior to prevent non-conformance.
This article employs a mixed-method design by formulating an agent-based simulation grounded in the case-study findings and agency theory to reconcile observed unexpected behaviors with scholarly suggestions.
The simulation results indicate that buyers facing severe consequences from non-conformance should opt to monitor supplier behavior. Sourcing from trusted suppliers should only be reserved for buyers that lack competence and have a small number of carefully selected suppliers. Moreover, buyers facing minor consequences from non-conformance should generally favor sourcing from trusted suppliers over monitoring their behavior. The results also suggest that having a third-party involved in monitoring suppliers is an effective path to preventing non-conformance.
By combining a simulation with qualitative case studies, this article examines whether buyers were making appropriate decisions, thereby offering contributions to theory and practice that would not have been possible using either methodological approach alone.
Gölgeci, I., Johnston, D. and Murphy, W. (2019), "Power-Based Behaviours Between Supply Chain Partners of Diverse National and Organizational Cultures: The Crucial Role of Boundary Spanners’ Cultural Intelligence", Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 65(3), 262-281.Keywords
Diamant, A., Johnston, D. and Quereshy, F. (2019), "Why Do Surgeons Schedule Their Own Surgeries?", Journal of Operations Management, 63(5), 262-281.
Surgery is a knowledge intensive, high‐risk professional service. Most hospitals give surgeons considerable autonomy in deciding which patients to operate on and when. In theory, this allows surgeons the operational flexibility to prioritize surgeries based on intimate knowledge of their patient’s clinical needs. At odds with this strategy is the operations management literature, which favors the standardization and centralization of scheduling focused on achieving the efficient use of all resources, such as operating room capacity. Unfortunately, a little is known as to how surgeons customize their schedules and why they value such control. To this end, we conduct an exploratory qualitative study of the scheduling behavior of surgeons at a large Canadian teaching hospital. We identify significant differences between surgeons as to their priorities when scheduling. Two constructs are formative in surgeon decision‐making: the timeliness of treatment for their patients and idiosyncratic personal priorities. Our work has implications for achieving surgeon support for initiatives to standardize and centralize routines for patient scheduling. Accordingly, we formulate propositions that address the conditions under which such efforts will achieve the desired balance between flexibility and efficiency.
Doha, A., Johnston, D., Pagell, M. and Swink, M. (2018), "The Imitator’s Dilemma: Why Imitators Should Break Out of Imitation", Journal of Product Innovation Management, 35(4), 543-564.
Imitation and innovation are two primary R&D approaches that firms follow in technology development, especially in R&D‐intensive industries. That imitation and innovation share R&D resources and investments gives rise to what is coined in this article as the imitator’s dilemma. The imitator’s dilemma tells a story of why firms should break out of imitation‐oriented R&D and move toward innovation‐oriented R&D in order to sustain their innovation output and profit performance. This article contributes to the technology and innovation management literature by illuminating the imitator’s dilemma both theoretically and empirically. To this end, this study develops and tests hypotheses to investigate the influence of a firm’s imitation activity on its innovation output and profit performance, which represent a gap in the current literature. A longitudinal research design is followed on an unbalanced panel dataset between 1991 and 2010 from a sample of 227 firms in three R&D‐intensive manufacturing industries in the United States, including computer, semiconductor, and pharmaceutical. The results of this research reveal a dilemma for imitators. Imitation activity can generate positive returns in terms of a firm’s innovation output and return on assets ROA (a measure of short‐term profits). However, these returns are unsustainable. Excessive levels of imitation activity within the firm results in negative returns in terms of its innovation output and ROA. Additionally, any level of imitation activity, low or high, negatively impacts a firm’s Tobin’s Q (a measure of long‐term corporate valuation). Accordingly, this article makes novel contributions to the technology and innovation management literature by explaining the imitator’s dilemma and how firms may effectively manage it.
Johnston, D., Gölgeci, I. and Murphy, W. (2018), "Power-based Behaviors in Supply Chains and their Effects on Relational Satisfaction: A Fresh Perspective and Directions for Research", European Management Journal, 36(2), 278-287.Keywords
Although the sources of a firm’s power vis-à-vis upstream and downstream relationships in supply chains have been studied extensively, how a firm may act or react to power-based behaviors of its partners has not been sufficiently defined and discussed. To this end, we present three power-based behaviors: dominance, egalitarian, and submissive. From a cross-disciplinary reading of the relevant literature, we conceptualize and discuss the characteristics of these behaviors as manifested by dyads within supply chains. Three power-based behaviors are proposed to describe both initiating and responding behaviors used by partners, with these behaviors affecting relational satisfaction. This results in nine potential descriptors of the state of any supply chain relationship. We then discuss the opportunities to use our approach to better research the dynamics of power in supply chain relationships.
Johnston, D., Pagell, M., Robson, L., Shevchenko, A. and Veltri, A. (2018), "Joint Management Systems for Operations and Safety: A Routine-Based Perspective", Journal of Cleaner Production, 194, 635-644.
This mixed-method research investigates the routines that enable a production system to be safe and operationally effective. We focus on the notion of a joint management system, a specific case of an integrated management system that encompasses safety and operations at the level of daily routines. We use a series of ten case studies to examine the content of joint management systems and offer detailed insight into the overlap in routines between safety management and operations management. The results detail the critical routines that such systems encompass. We then use a sample of 198 facilities to confirm that joint management systems are associated with this specific set of routines and show that these routines bundle together.
Doha, A., Johnston, D., Pagell, M. and Swink, M. (2017), "Measuring Firms’ Imitation Activity", R&D Management, 47(4), 522-533.
Although imitation is more abundant and prevalent than innovation in firms’ product and process development activities, it has been understudied in research on innovation and R&D management. For example, a valid and reliable objective firm‐level measure of the intensity of imitation activity is lacking in the extant literature. This measure is necessary to understand the antecedents and consequences of firms’ imitation activity, which has implications for R&D management. In this paper, we present novel methods that employ patent infringement litigations data to improve on the validity and reliability of measuring firms’ imitation activity. We validate our proposed measure by presenting a first model and test of R&D as a multiple‐output production function with R&D expenditure as the primary input, and innovation and imitation as joint outputs. This is in contrast to current R&D models as a single‐output production function of either innovation or imitation. This study uses a sample of 227 public firms from the computer, semiconductor, and pharmaceutical industries in the United States during 1991–2010.
Amick, B., Hogg-Johnson, S., Johnston, D., Klassen, R., Pagell, M., Robson, L., Sarnocinska-Hark, A., Schevchenko, A., Sharma, S., Tompa, E. and Veltri, A. (2016), "Managing Safety and Operations: The Effect of Joint Management System Practices on Safety and Operational Outcomes", Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58(3), e80-e89.
Johnston, D., Pagell, M. and Veltri, A. (2016), "Getting Workplace Safety Right", MIT Sloan Management Review, 57(2), 12-14.
Working safety is a persistent and expensive problem, even in countries with well-developed regulation and enforcement. For example, 2.8 million nonfatal occupational injuries and more than 4,600 workplace fatalities occurrred in the United States in 2014. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that , in addition to the incalculable human cost, occupational illness and injuries cost businesses in the United Dtates about $170 billion each year. The management of employee safety is hardly a new concept. Yet, in manufacturing, many companies are missing out on the cost efficiencies and synergistic boost to productivity that would come from investing in safety systems and capabilities. The reason? They don’t take safety seriously enough. In fact, a sens that rules need to be broken to get work done was evident in the majority of the workplaces we researched.
Johnston, D., Knoppen, D. and Sáenz, M. (2015), "Supply Chain Relationships as a Context for Learning Leading to Innovation", International Journal of Logistics Management, 26(3), 543-567.
The purpose of this paper is to integrate the literature on learning in the context of boundary spanning innovation in supply chains. A two-dimensional framework is proposed: the learning stage (exploration, assimilation, exploitation) and the learning facet (structural, cultural, psychological and policy). Supply chain management (SCM) practices are examined in light of this framework and propositions for further empirical research are developed.
In total, 60 empirical papers from the major journals on supply chain relationships published over an 11-year time span (2000-2010) were systematically analyzed.
The paper reveals a comprehensive set of best practices and identifies four gaps for future research. First, assimilation and exploitation are largely ignored as mediating learning stages between exploration and performance. Second, knowledge brokers and reputation management are key mechanisms that foster assimilation. Third, the iteration from exploitation back to exploration is critical though underdeveloped in efficiency seeking supply chains. Fourth, the literature stresses structural mechanisms of learning, at the expense of a more holistic view of structural, cultural, psychological and policy mechanisms.
The search could be extended to other journals that report on joint learning and innovation.
The framework provides guidelines for practitioners to develop learning capabilities and leverage the knowledge from supply chain partners in order to continuously or radically improve boundary spanning processes and products.
The study is multi-disciplinary; it applies a model developed by learning scholars to the field of SCM.
Johnston, D., Klassen, R., Pagell, M., Scevchenko, A. and Sharma, S. (2015), "Are Safety and Operational Effectiveness Contradictory Requirements: The Roles of Routines and Relational Coordination", Journal of Operations Management, 36, 1-14.
The relationship between managing a production system to be safe and managing it to be operationally effective is often described in conflicting terms, creating confusion for research and practice. Some view improving safety as separate and distinct from increasing operational effectiveness; they are contradictory requirements. Others emphasize that safety and effectiveness are complementary, and combine to enhance competitiveness. Recent research proposes that this confusion can be explained by examining the operational and safety routines used in production. Specifically, when an organization chooses to manage safety and operations in a coordinated fashion using a joint management system, safety and operational effectiveness are complementary. Yet, the contradiction between safety and operations can occur when the functions are managed as separate and unequal silos. This research tests this supposition using the theory of relational coordination. The results, based on a combination of survey and archival safety data from 198 manufacturing firms, show that safety and operational outcomes are indirectly related via routines and that plants that manage safety and operations using a joint management system make these priorities complementary and do not create trade-offs between safety and operational performance.
Johnston, D., Pathak, S. and Wu, Z. (2014), "Toward a Structural View of Co-opetition in Supply Networks", Journal of Operations Management, 32(5), 254-267.
Co-opetition, or simultaneous competition and cooperation, in the supply chain management literature has been treated as a dyadic relational phenomenon where the buyer’s strategy is considered to be the primary driver. In this paper, we move beyond the dyadic view and propose a theory of co-opetition in supply networks. We argue that as firms within a supply network interact over time to access, share, and transform resources, new ties between firms are formed and existing ties dissolve, giving rise to co-opetition dynamics at the network level. Taking a configurational approach, we employ the inter-related dimensions of ties between firm, firm-level task, network-level objective, and governance to specify four practical supply network archetypes that cover a wide range of economic activities. We then explain how coopetitive relationships may evolve in these supply network archetypes. Specifically, we discuss how relationships form or dissolve in these archetypes and how local structural changes lead to co-opetition dynamics at the network level. We also discuss the implications of such dynamics from a managerial perspective.
Biehl, M., Johnston, D., Klassen, R., Pagell, M. and Veltri, A. (2014), "Is Safe Production an Oxymoron? Exploring How Firms Manage Safety and Operations", Production and Operations Management, 23(7), 1161-1175.
This research examines how organizations simultaneously manage their operations and occupational health and safety. Although both safety and operations scholars conduct research in the same operational settings, they have reached different, yet untested, conclusions about the relationship between creating a safe workplace and creating a productive workplace. The results from a series of 10 case studies show that it is possible to create safe and productive workplaces, but that many facilities fail at this task because of problems associated with the culture management creates and the practices management adopts.
Johnston, D., Longoni, A., Pagell, M. and Veltri, A. (2013), "When Does Lean Hurt? An Exploration of Lean Practices and Worker Health and Safety Outcomes", International Journal of Production Research, 51(11), 3300-3320.
This research takes a first step toward a more complete understanding of the effects of lean production on both operational and worker health and safety performance. Previous operations management literature considered only the operational performance implications of lean while previous safety literature considered only the worker health and safety implications of lean. This research considers both perspectives by providing empirical evidence on the impact of lean on operational and health and safety performance. Results from 10 case studies show that the adoption of lean practices and or an overall lean philosophy has a positive impact on operational and health and safety performance. However, there are some nuances in the role of individual practices associated with lean. The plants with the worst operational and health and safety performance in the sample were those that adopted just-in-time practices without human resource and prevention practices. The results show how both the social and technical components of lean are required for lean to have positive operational and health and safety impacts.
Amick, B., Hogg-Johnson, S., Johnston, D., Macdonald, S., Pagell, M., Robson, L., Tompa, E. and Veltri, A. (2013), "Understanding Safety in the Context of Business Operations: An Exploratory Study Using Case Studies", Safety Science, 55, 119-134.Keywords
This exploratory research employs a series of cases studies and a multi-stakeholder perspective to examine safety practices and outcomes in the wider context of business operations. The aims of the research include enhancing the understanding of the practices critical for safe workplaces and of the business value (positive or negative) of safety. Four research questions related to safety practices and outcomes and operational practices and outcomes were addressed. The results provide new and novel insights into safety’s role in the organization and show that when safety is examined in the wider organizational context additional rationale for improving safety becomes visible.
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project TitleImproving Healthcare Operations RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$27,500.00 Year Awarded2017-2018 Granting AgencySchulich Research Fellowship Project TitleLearning Collaborative Decision Making Through Role Playing Using On Line Simulations RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$2,500.00 Year Awarded2014-2016 Granting AgencyYork University Faculty Association Project TitleThe safety case for business: A multi-stakeholder examination of best practices and health and safety outcomes. with Mark Pagell RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$387,300.00 Year Awarded2008-2013 Granting AgencyWorkplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario (WSIB) - Research Grant Project Title“Sustaining The Advantage: A Resource-Based Examination Of Internet Business Solution Adoption And Use Among Canadian SMEs” with Mike Wade RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$65,845.00 Year Awarded2005-2008 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - General Operating Grant Project Title“International Net Impact Study” RoleCo-Investigator Award Amount$75,000.00 Year Awarded2005-2006 Granting AgencyCisco Corporation - Thought Leadership Program Project TitleSmall and medium-sized enterprise international development through electronic networks RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$41,237.00 Year Awarded2002-2003 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - INE Development Grant Project Title"Design of Anticipative Manufacturing Planning and Control Systems" RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$145,622.00 Year Awarded1995-2000 Granting AgencyUniversity Research Initiatives Fund (URIF) - Research Grant Project Title“Improved Business Process Planning and Analysis" RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$150,000.00 Year Awarded1995-2005 Granting AgencyNorthern Telecom University - Interaction Program Project Title"Improved Capacity Utilization and Forecasting" RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$164,000.00 Year Awarded1992-2005 Granting AgencyNorthern Telecom University Interaction Program - Manufacturing Thrust Grant