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A model of socially responsible buying/sourcing decision‐making processes

Haesun Park (School of Human Ecology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)
Leslie Stoel (Department of Consumer and Textile Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 April 2005




Socially responsible buying/sourcing (SRB) has become a critical issue in many companies. The purpose of this study was to build an exploratory model to describe buying/sourcing professionals' SRB decision‐making process.


Adopting business ethics and attitude theories, the SRB process was hypothesized to be a composite of cognitive processing and affective reactions to personal sources of information (e.g. peers). The mail survey data obtained from buying/sourcing professionals in the US apparel/shoe companies were analyzed using a Structural Equation Modeling technique.


SRB generally followed a cognitive decision framework and was partly influenced by the decision maker's affective reaction to peer buying/sourcing professionals' behaviors. Emotional reaction to top‐management, however, was not significant.

Research limitations/implications

The SRB scale created for this study is focused on the apparel/shoe buying context, which may limit its applicability to other industries. Also, SRB was measured through subjective perceptions of the respondents, which may be subject to some degree of social desirability bias.

Practical implications

The results suggest that changing the organizational environment where employees observe peers and providing standards of what is socially acceptable can improve SRB.


By employing individual decision makers as the unit of analysis, this study advances the field of ethical decision making by providing empirical evidence that SRB decisions are a product of both cognitive processing and emotional responses.



Park, H. and Stoel, L. (2005), "A model of socially responsible buying/sourcing decision‐making processes", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 235-248.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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