oa Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management - Distribution tactics for success in turbulent versus stable environments : a complexity theory approach : original research

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2310-8789
  • E-ISSN: 1995-5235



This article proposes that the external environment influences the choice of distribution tactics. Since businesses and markets are complex adaptive systems, using complexity theory to understand such environments is necessary, but it has not been widely researched. A qualitative case method using in-depth interviews investigated four successful, versus less successful, companies in turbulent versus stable environments. The results tentatively confirmed that the more successful company, in a turbulent market, sees distribution activities as less important than other aspects of the marketing mix, but uses them to stabilise customer relationships and to maintain distribution processes. These findings can benefit marketers by emphasising a new way to consider place activities. How marketers can be assisted, and suggestions for further research, are provided.

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