Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Joon Jung

Second Advisor

Dr. Jorge Gonzalez

Third Advisor

Dr. E. Thomas Coyle


The complexity and interconnectedness of markets creates risks in the global supply chain and may lead to various types of disruptions. Prior research in the supply chain management literature has focused on some aspect of disruption and firm performance. However, the effect of Gray Swans on various aspects of firms’ operational or financial performance is an under-research area. Understanding why managers often underestimate and overlook Gray Swans contributes to ongoing conversation of risk in the global supply chain. Gray Swans are defined as low probability risk events that if/when they occur can have a severe or catastrophic impact on a firm’s operations.

Gray Swans have been examined in the finance and economic literatures. However, these types of risk events have eluded significant discussion in the broad organization management literature. I present a new scale for measuring Gray Swans. Additionally, I have adapted and revised existing measures for the other constructs in the model.

My research seeks to (i) understand Gray Swan construct in supply chain management context, (ii) understand the relationship between Gray Swans and Firm Resilience, and (ii) investigate how the buyer-supplier relations and the firm’s risk management system affect Firm Resilience in the context of a Gray Swan.

In this dissertation, I utilize an integrated theoretical approach applying Contingency and Punctuated Equilibrium Theory to understand the effects of a Gray Swan on firm resilience. Prior research has utilized transaction cost economics, agency theory or institutional theory primarily to explain disruptions in the supply chain. While either of these theories may explain the relation between variables in the model, I believe Contingency Theory which focuses on “fit” and Punctuated Equilibrium which focuses on “convergence” better explain my model an overarching theoretical framework.

Two pilot studies were conducted to validate the constructs in the model. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) demonstrated reliability and internal consistency of the model. I also conducted a confirmatory factor analysis to fit the data to the model. The data from the pilot study shows that a firm’s risk management system is related Firm Resilience. I also found a positive relationship between Gray Swans and buyer-supplier relationship. Finally, I found that Gray Swans negatively affects Firm Resilience.


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