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Supplier diversity and minority business enterprise development: case study experience of three US multinationals

Mayank Shah (Small Business and Enterprise Research Group, Leicester Business School, Leicester, UK)
Monder Ram (Small Business and Enterprise Research Group, Leicester Business School, Leicester, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 1 January 2006

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the rationale for supplier diversity, constituent elements of each case study programme, actual performance of the initiatives and key challenges involved in implementing supplier diversity programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper goes beyond armchair accounts of the “American experience”, and presents evidence from three exemplars of supplier diversity in the USA – Ford Motor Company, JPMorgan Chase, and Unisys. Semi‐structured interviews with supplier diversity teams within these three case study firms were conducted to understand the rationale, drivers and challenges to implementing supplier diversity programmes.

Findings

The case studies highlight the importance of the “business case” in explaining corporate receptiveness to supplier diversity. This has particular force in light of the progressive “browning” of the USA. However, the role of the government as catalyst is not to be understated; a number of respondents identified governmental pressure as an important influence on the approach to supplier diversity. Sophisticated monitoring of supply chains and intense out‐reach activities with minority business enterprises were important features of the case study firm and provide a sharp contrast with the position in the UK.

Originality/value

The paper concludes by assessing the key elements of successful supplier diversity initiatives, and reflecting on the lessons that could be learned for the UK.

Keywords

Citation

Shah, M. and Ram, M. (2006), "Supplier diversity and minority business enterprise development: case study experience of three US multinationals", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 75-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/13598540610642493

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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