Paradoxes and Opportunities in Logistic Outsourcing Research

  • Đurđica Stojanović
Keywords: logistics outsourcing, research paradoxes, research opportunities


Historically, very few logistic trends have caught the attention of academics and practitioners to the same extent as outsourcing. A comprehensive literature review reveals two reasons for this continual topicality. The problem complexity and the business environment dynamics – including an interaction with other main trends in logistics and modern supply chains – both led to a permanent literature gap, indicating the need to explore some new aspects of logistics outsourcing (LO). In this paper, a new LO research perspective has been explored by identifying some weaknesses in the main LO research streams and related common viewpoints which led to six ‘logistics outsourcing research paradoxes’. Each of these paradoxes is briefly described and their links with research streams and common views on LO discussed. Finally, the nature of some known opportunities for further research is better explained and some overlooked research opportunities are highlighted.


Harland, C., Knight, L., and Lamming, R.: Outsourcing: assessing the risks and benefits for organisations, sectors and nations, International Journal of Operations &Production Management, Vol. 25, No. 9, 2005, pp. 831-850

Lynch, C.F.: Logistics outsourcing, Council of Logistics Management, 2000

McKinnon, A.: Outsourcing the logistics function, in Waters, D. (ed.), Global Logistics and Distribution Planning, Kogan Page, London, 2003

Stefansson, G.: Collaborative logistics management and the role of third-party service providers, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2006, pp.76-92

Maloni, M.J., Carter, C.R.: Opportunities for Research in Third-Party Logistics, Transportation Journal, Spring, 2006, pp. 23-38

Marasco, A.: Third-party logistics: A literature review, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 113, 2008,pp. 127–147

Selviaridis, K., Spring, M.: Third party logistics: a literature review and research agenda, The international Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2007, pp. 125-150

Langley, J. Jr.: Third-Party Logistics—Results and Findings of the 15th Annual Study, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, US, 2010

Hong, J., Chin, A.T.H.: Firm-Specific Characteristics and Logistics Outsourcing by Chinese Manufacturers, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 16, 2004, pp. 23-36

Jayaram, J., Tan, K.-C.: Supply chain integration with third-party logistics providers, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 125, 2010, pp. 262-271

Jagdev, H.S., Thobern, K. D.: Anatomy of enterprise collaborations, Production planning & control, Vol. 12, No. 5, 2001, pp. 437-451

Bowersox, D.J., Closs, D.J., and Stank, T.P.: Ten mega-trends that will revolutionize supply chain logistics, Journal of Business Logistics, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2000, pp. 1-16

Cakić, Đ: Oblikovanje transportnih resursa u lancima snabdevanja, Ph.D. thesis, Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia, 2009

Hong, J., Chin, A.T.H., and Binglian, L.: Logistics outsourcing by manufacturers in China: A survey of the industry, Transportation journal, Winter, 2004, pp. 17-25

Wilding, R., Juriado, R.: Customer perceptions on logistics outsourcing in the European consumer goods industry, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management,Vol.34, No. 7/8, 2004, pp. 628-644

Aas, B., Buvik, A., and Cakic, Đ: Outsourcing of logistics activities in a complex supply chain: a case study from the Norwegian oil and gas industry, International Journal of Procurement Management, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2008, pp. 280-296

Delfmann, W., Albers, S., and Gehring, M.: The impact of electronic commerce on logistics service providers, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 32, No. 3, 2002, pp. 203-222

van Laarhoven, P. , Berglund, M. and Peters, M.: Third-party logistics in Europe – five years later, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Vol. 30, No. 5, 2000, pp. 425-442

Wang, C., Regan, A.C.: Risks and Reduction Measures in Logistics Outsourcing, TRB Annual Meeting, 2003. CD-ROM, available at: (last accessed March, 2011).

Razzaque, M.A., Sheng, C.C.: Outsourcing of logistics functions: a literature survey, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1998, pp. 89-107

Bolumole, Y.A., Frankel, R., and Naslund, D.: Developing a Theoretical Framework for Logistics Outsourcing, Transportation Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, Spring, 2007, pp. 35-54

Holecomb, T.R., Hitt, M.A.: Toward a model of strategic outsourcing, Journal of Operations Management, No. 25, 2007, pp. 464–481

Daugherty, P.J.: Review of logistics and supply chain relationship literature and suggested research agenda, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2011, pp. 16-31

Deepen, J.M.: Logistics Outsourcing Relationships, Springer, Heidelberg-New York, 2007

de Boer, L., Gaytan, J., and Arroyo, P.: A satisfying model of outsourcing, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 11, No. 5, 2006, pp. 444–455

Croucher, P.: Insourcing, Logistics Focus, March, 1998, pp. 3-8

Probert, D.R.: The practical development of a make-or-buy strategy: the issue of process positioning, Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1996, pp. 44-51

Mangan, J., Lalwani, C., and Gardner, B.: Combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies in logistics research, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Vol. 34, No. 7, 2004, pp. 565-578

Chopra, S., Meindl, P.: Supply Chain Management, Strategy, Planning and Operations, 2nd edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004

Stojanović, Đ., Nikoličić, S., and Miličić, M.: Transport fleet sizing by using make and buy decision-making, Economic Annals, Vol. LVI, No. 190, 2011, pp. 25-50

How to Cite
Stojanović Đurđica. Paradoxes and Opportunities in Logistic Outsourcing Research. Promet [Internet]. 1 [cited 2024Apr.16];24(6):525-33. Available from: