Term of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (Ph.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Marketing and Logistics

Committee Chair

Stephen Rutner

Committee Member 1

William Norton

Committee Member 2

Karl Manrodt

Committee Member 3

Monique Murfield

Committee Member 3 Email



The purpose of this research was to investigate the barriers to innovation and the factors to overcome those barriers in the 3PL industry. Using primarily depth interviews, data was collected from twenty-five participants from ten companies. Grounded theory methodology was utilized to interpret the data, of which a model was developed that provides a framework for understanding the barriers that 3PLs must overcome in order to successfully innovate on a continual basis.

The findings of the research indicate that innovative 3PLs have specific attributes that enable them to be innovative. The findings also suggest that the 3PL industry faces unique barriers to innovation that may provide a unique environment for innovative initiative when compared to other industries. Specifically, one barrier that emerged as a significant barrier is the unwillingness of customers to participate in innovative initiatives. Factors to overcome these barriers are also identified, as well as unique benefits that 3PLs enjoy as a result of successful innovative initiatives.

Managerial implications and further opportunities for research and a proposed research agenda are provided.