DBA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Kevin Linderman

Discover Dr. Kevin Linderman, Department Chair and Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Explore his expertise in improving systems, supply chain management, and engaging with industry. Learn about his research approach and the courses he teaches for the Smeal Executive DBA program.

Dr. Kevin Linderman, Department Chair and Professor of Supply Chain Management.

Some of the best and brightest minds in business call Smeal their professional home. Our faculty's contributions to teaching and research are heard around the world. And their commitment to partnering with our students is seen, heard, and experienced in our classrooms and beyond. 

Here, we introduce you to Dr. Kevin Linderman, Department Chair and Professor of Supply Chain Management

What DBA course(s) are you teaching?

SCIS 502 - Supply Chain Strategy

What are you excited to cover/explore and why?

I am excited to cover how supply chains adapt, change, and hopefully improve over time. This involves not only improving the underlying processes in supply chains, but also managing the risks that they face in an increasingly turbulent world. What happens in one part of the world often impacts the supply chain in another part of the world.

As we work to build a better tomorrow, we need to improve the way we make, source, and deliver goods and services.

What are some of your main goals/expectations as a professor to DBA students?

Supply chain management is inherently problem-driven and requires looking at issues from multiple theoretical perspectives. I want students to be effective consumers of the supply management literature. That is, they can connect the issues and problems they face and how it plays out in the supply chain. Ultimately, what I want for the DBA students is not only to be informed by the supply management literature, but also to bring their experiences to bear and inform the supply chain management literature. They should understand the foundations of supply chain management while also developing new perspectives from their experiences.

How would you summarize your research expertise?

My research expertise is fundamentally about improving systems. This entails taking an end-to-end perspective and realizing that local optimal solutions may not be the global optimal solution. Understanding how to improve systems requires not only understanding the technical issues of improvement, but also the social issues of making change happen.

Why is it important to you?

As the world becomes more connected, we need more than ever the ability to understand systems.

This entails understanding the entities of the system and how they interact with one another. Leading systems requires leading across organizational and national boundaries, and often where you have no formal authority. For instance, to improve the overall supply chain performance, a manufacture may need to convince their supplier in another country to make changes. There are the technical issues associated with the change, but also critical social issues.

How would you describe your research approach?

My research approach follows the engaged scholarship model, where I create a virtuous cycle between being informed by issues in industry and through my scholarship informing industry practice. This entails taking a multimethod approach to research. I have employed case studies, surveys, econometrics, and analytical models in my research. Taking a multimethod allows me to explore supply chain problems from more diverse perspectives, where I try to understand the problem rather than fit the problem to a particular methodological framework.

View Kevin's Smeal Directory profile