Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32019
A Framework for Investigating Reverse Logistics Capability of E-Tailers

Authors: Wen-Shan Lin, Shu-Lu Hsu


Environmental concern and consumer rights have entailed e-tailers to adopt better strategies to facilitate product returns from customers. As the demand for reverse logistics (RL) continues to grow, little is known about what motivates e-tailers to enhance their RL capabilities and about the role RL capabilities plays in enabling e-tailers to achieve better customer satisfaction and economic performance. Based on resource-based theory and institutional theory, this article proposes that the following factors play a critical role in influencing the RL capability of e-tailers: (a) Financial resource commitment to RL, (b) managerial resource commitment to RL, and (c) institutional pressure to implement RL. Based on the role of these factors, the study provides a framework and propositions that serve to guide future research addressing the link among resources, institutional pressure, and RL capability.

Keywords: Reverse logistics, e-tailing, resource-based theory, institutional theory.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1070


[1] D. S. Rogers and R. S. Tibben-Lembke, Going Backwards: Reverse Logistics Trends and Practices (vol. 2), Pittsburgh, PA: Reverse Logistics Executive Council, 1999.
[2] H. L. Richardson, “Logistics in reverse,” Ind Week, vol. 250, pp. 37-39, 2001.
[3] A. Robinson, “How to setup an e-commerce reverse logistics framework strategy for the industrial space as proven by the retail world,” Rev Logist Magaz, vol. 6, pp. 12-13, 2014.
[4] C. Dembeck, “Return policies top e-shoppers’ concerns,” e-commerce times., 1999.
[5] B. Trebilcock, “Why are returns so tough?,” Mod Mater Handl, vol. 56, pp. 45-51, 2001.
[6] ReturnBuy, “The new dynamics of returns: the profit, customer and business intelligence opportunities in returns,” Ashburn, Virginia, White Paper,, 2000.
[7] D. S. Rogers and R. S. Tibben-Lembke, “An overview of reverse logistics practices,” J Bus Logist, vol. 22, pp. 129-148, 2001.
[8] T. J. Strader and M. J. Shaw, “Characteristics of electronic markets,” Decis Support Syst, vol. 21, pp. 185-198, 1997.
[9] R. Giuntini, A. Tom, and T. Andel, “Reverse logistics role models,” Transp Distrib, vol. 36, pp. 97-98, 1995.
[10] C. N. Smith, R. J. Thomas, and J. A. Quelch, “A Strategic Approach to Managing Product Recalls,” Harvard Bus Rev, vol. 74, pp. 102-112, 1996.
[11] S. Reda, “Getting a handle on returns,” Stores, vol. 80, pp. 22-26, 1998.
[12] V. Jayaraman, A. D. Ross, and A. Agarwal, “Role of information technology and collaboration in reverse logistics supply chains,” Int J Logist Res Appl, vol. 11, pp. 409-425, 2008.
[13] P. J. Daugherty, C. W. Autry, and A. E. Ellinger, “Reverse logistics: the relationship between resource commitment and program performance,” J. Bus. Logist, vol. 22, pp. 107-123, 2001.
[14] J. Cullen, M. Tsamenyi, M. Bernon, and J. Gorst, “Reverse logistics in the UK retail sector: A case study of the role of management accounting in driving organisational change,” Manage Account Res, vol. 24, pp. 212-227, 2013.
[15] M. A. Porter, “Towards a dynamic theory of strategy,” Strateg Manage J, vol. 12, pp. 95-117, 1991.
[16] D. J. Collis and C. A. Montgomery, “Competing on resources: strategy in the 1990s,” Harvard Bus Rev, vol. 7, pp. 118-128, 1995.
[17] F. Ye, X. Zhaoa, C. Prahinskic, and Y. Li, “The impact of institutional pressures, top managers’ posture and reverse logistics on performance- Evidence from China,” Int J Prod Econ, vil. 143, pp. 132–143, 2013.
[18] C. Oliver, “Strategic responses to institutional processes,” Acad Manage Rev, vol. 16, pp. 145-179, 1991.
[19] M. A. Berry and D. A. Rondinelli, “Proactive corporate environmental management: a new industrial revolution,” Acad Manage Exec, vol. 12, pp. 38-50, 1998.
[20] M. E. Epstein and M. J. Roy, “Managing corporate environmental performance: a multinational perspective,” Eur Manage J, vol. 16, pp. 284-296, 1998.
[21] M. Fleischmann, H. R. Krikke, R. Dekker, and S. P. Flagger, “A characterization of logistics networks for product recovery,” Omega, pp. 28, pp. 653-666, 2000.
[22] C. Prahinski and C. Kocabasoglu, Empirical research opportunities in reverse supply chains, Omega, vol. 34, pp. 519-532, 2006.
[23] M. Cohen, “Replace, rebuild or remanufacture,” Equip Manage, vol. 16, pp. 22-26, 1998.
[24] P. J. Daugherty, M. B. Myers, and R. G. Richey, “Information support for reverse logistics: the influence of relationship commitment,” J Bus Logist, vol. 23, pp. 85-105, 2002.
[25] R. G. Richey, S. E. Genchev, and P. J. Daugherty, “The role of resource commitment and innovation in reverse logistics performance,” Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage, vol. 35, pp. 233-256, 2005.
[26] D. J. Bowersox, D. C. Closs, and M. B. Cooper, Supply Chain Logistics Management, McGraw-Hill Series in Marketing, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
[27] C. R. Carter and L. M. Ellram, Reverse logistics: a review of the literature and framework for future investigation, J Bus Logist, vol. 19, pp. 85-102, 1998.
[28] D. L. Hoffman and T.P. Novak, “Marketing in hypermedia computer-mediated environments: conceptual foundations,” J Marketing, vol. 60, pp. 50-68, 1996.
[29] S. L. Wood, “Remote purchase environments: the influence of return policy leniency on two-stage decision process,” J Marketing Res, vol. 38, pp. 157-169, 2001.
[30] J. Mostard and R. Teunter, “The newsboy problem with resalable returns: A single period model and case study,” Eur J Oper Res, vol. 32, pp. 81-96, 2006.
[31] J. B. Barney, “Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage,” J Manage, vol. 17, pp. 99-120, 1991.
[32] R. M. Grant, “The resource-based theory of competitive advantage: implications for strategy formulation,” Calif Manage Rev, vol. 33, pp. 114-135, 1991.
[33] K. R. Conner, “A historical comparison of resource-based theory and five schools of thought within organizational economics: do we have a new theory of the firm,” J Manage, vol. 17, pp. 121-154, 1991.
[34] C. K. Prahalad and G. Hamel, “The core competence of the corporation,” Harvard Bus Rev, vol. 68, pp. 79-92, 1990.
[35] R. Amit and P. J. Schoemaker, “Managing assets and skills: a key to sustainable competitive advantage,” Strateg Manage J, vol. 31, pp. 91-106, 1993.
[36] C. Oliver, “Sustainable competitive advantage: combining institutional and resource-based views,” Strat Manage J, vol. 18, pp. 697-713, 1997.
[37] P. J. DiMaggio and W. W. Powell, “The iron cage revisited: institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields,” Am Sociol Rev, vol. 48, pp. 147-160, 1983.
[38] P. Selznick, TVA and the Grass Roots, Berkerley: University of California Press, 1949.
[39] M. Granovetter, “Economic action and social structure: the problem of embedded ness,” Am J Sociol, vol. 91, pp. 481-510, 1985.
[40] W. R. Scott, Institutions and Organizations, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995.
[41] A. Ginsberg, “Minding the competition: from mapping to master,” Strateg Manage J, vol. 15, pp. 153-174, 1994.
[42] C. W. Autry, P. J. Daugherty, and R. G. Richey, “The challenge of reverse logistics in catalog retailing,” Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage, vol. 31, pp. 26-37, 2001.
[43] P. J. Daugherty, R. G. Richey, S. E. Genchev, and H. Chen, “Reverse logistics: superior performance through focused resource commitments to information technology,” Transport Res, vol. 5, pp. 77-92, 2005.
[44] S. Olavarrieta and A. E. Ellinger, “Resource-based theory and strategic logistics research,” Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage, vol. 27, pp. 559–587, 1997.
[45] A. W. K. Tan, W. S. Yu, and K. Arun, “Improving the performance of a computer company in supporting its reverse logistics operations in the Asia-Pacific region,” Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage, vol. 33, pp. 59-74, 2003.
[46] R. J. Calantone, S. T. Cavusgil, and Y. Zhao, “Learning orientation, firm innovation capability, and firm performance,” Industrial Marketing Manage, vol. 31, pp. 515-524, 2002.
[47] P. Christmann, “Effects of ‘best practices’ of environmental management on cost advantage: the role of complementary assets,” Acade Manage J, vol. 43, pp. 663-81, 2000.
[48] P. Rohan, S. Varun, and C. S. Hulgur, “Reverse logistics,” International Conference on Challenges and Opportunities in Mechanical Engineering, Ind Engine and Manage Stud (ICCOMIM - 2012), 11-13 July 2012.
[49] K. Das and A. H. Chowdhury, “Designing a reverse logistics network for optimal collection, recovery and quality-based product-mix planning,” Int J Prod Econ, vol. 135, pp. 209-221, 2012.
[50] W. Bei and S. Linyan, “A review of reverse logistics,” Appl Sci, vol. 7, pp. 16-29, 2005.
[51] M. W. Toffel, “Strategic management of product recovery,” Cal Manage Rev, vol. 46, pp. 120-141, 2004.
[52] J. Meyer, B. Rowan, “Institutionalized organizations: formal structure as myth and ceremony,” Am J Sociol, vol. 83, pp. 340-363, 1977.
[53] R. W. Ruekert, O. C. Walker, and K. J. Roering, “The Organization of marketing activities: a contingency theory of structure and performance,” J. Marketing, vol. 49, pp. 13-26, 1985.
[54] P. M. Wright and G. C. McMahan, “Theoretical perspectives for strategic human resource management,” J. Manage, vol. 18, pp. 295-320, 1992.
[55] D. J. Closs and K. Savitskie, “Internal and external information technology integration,” Int J Logist Manage, vol. 14, pp. 63–76, 2003.
[56] H. H. Teo, K. K. Wei, and I. Benbasat, Predicting intention to adopt interorganizational linkages: an institutional perspective,” Manage Inf Syst Q, vol. 27, pp. 19-49, 2003.
[57] R. Morton, “Return to sender,” Logist Today, vol. 44, pp. 33-34, 2003.