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Coordination to manage dependencies between logistics service providers and shippers: An environmental perspective

Uni Sallnäs (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 4 April 2016




Although it has been suggested that shippers’ demands regarding environmental practices appear to have an impact on the environmental work of LSPs, limited attention has been given to environmental practices in the relationships between LSPs and shippers. The purpose of this paper is to explore how dependencies between LSPs and shippers can influence the way in which environmental practices are coordinated in the relationships between them.


Four dyadic case studies, each consisting of one LSP and one shipper, provide the empirical basis for this paper.


Two types of dependencies are suggested as having an influence over the coordination of environmental practices in LSP-shipper relationships: dependence between LSPs and shippers as such; and dependence with regard to specific environmental practices. In addition, the environmental ambition of the actors is found to be of relevance when LSPs and shippers coordinate environmental practices between them. Based on these parameters, different coordination mechanisms for environmental practices in LSP-shipper relationships are discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to four cases in a Swedish context. Additional cases might provide other insights into LSP-shipper relationships and thereby lead to modifications of the proposed conceptual framework.

Practical implications

The results can help both LSPs and shippers improve their work with environmental practices through the use of the appropriate coordination mechanisms in their inter-organisational relationships.


Contrary to previous research, which mainly takes one party’s perspective, this paper takes a dyadic approach and thereby adds valuable knowledge to the inter-organisational aspects of LSPs’ environmental work.



The author would like to thank VINNOVA (Sweden’s innovation agency) and the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council for financing this research. The author is very grateful for the useful comments provided by three anonymous reviewers. Finally, the author would like to thank Maria Huge-Brodin and Maria Björklund for their input during the early stages of this paper.


Sallnäs, U. (2016), "Coordination to manage dependencies between logistics service providers and shippers: An environmental perspective", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 316-340.



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