The disruption of the international supply chain: Firm resilience and knowledge preparedness to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak


The lockdowns of several countries due to COVID-19 outbreak resulted in severe economic consequences, among which was the immediate general disruption of the international supply chain, with few exceptions. This article aims to investigate whether some supply chains were resilient or not and why, using a knowledge-based approach and specifically focusing on the role played by supply chain innovation in building resilience to disruptions, thanks to knowledge preparedness. The study is motivated by two main rationales: the unique situation of a global pandemic and the absence of studies providing grounded evidences of supply chain resilience in a worst-case scenario.

The research is based on the assumption that knowledge preparedness introduces logistics/supply chain innovations and enables companies to prevent, detect, and respond to unpredictable negative events.

By using a large-scale sample of European firms' data from the Eurostat and a multivariate regression analysis, the authors cross-study the effects of supply chain knowledge preparedness – based on innovation type and expenditures – on the international trade of goods from January to June 2020. The results confirm that the most resilient supply chains were those that had previously introduced innovations, a factor that strengthens the knowledge preparedness of firms when faced with unforeseeable supply chain disruptions.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
Journal of International Management