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Implementing social sustainability through market pressures: an inter-organizational network analysis in the Pakistani apparel supply chain

Enrico Fontana (Department of Management, Sasin School of Management, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand) (Mistra Centre for Sustainable Markets, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)
Muhammad Atif (Department of Management and Strategy, EDC Paris Business School, Paris, France)
Mark Heuer (Department of Management and Marketing, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 4 February 2022

Issue publication date: 16 March 2023

836

Abstract

Purpose

This article encourages novel approaches in the SSCM literature to create transformative change for workers in developing countries' apparel supply chains. It examines how suppliers' implementation of social sustainability is moderated by buyers' pressures (through dyadic ties) and by similar suppliers' pressures (through extended ties).

Design/methodology/approach

The article adopts a qualitative method design based on fieldwork and 21 face-to-face interviews with suppliers' senior managers. The data were collected between 2017 and 2020 in the factory premises of suppliers in Pakistan.

Findings

This article distinguishes the pressures that moderate suppliers' implementation of social sustainability positively (top-down encouragement, informal exchange and competitive convergence) and negatively (unrewarded commitment) through social ties. Hence, it shows how suppliers experience constrained proactivity as a state of tension.

Originality/value

The article primarily contributes to the SSCM literature by informing how similar suppliers' pressures in the business community constitute important processes of social governance and are key to create transformative change upstream in apparel supply chains. Against this backdrop, it cautions about buyers' opposite pressures and misuse of their negotiation power, which indirectly holds back and dilutes transformative change.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Enrico Fontana would like to thank the Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation (CSSI) at Gustavson School of Business (University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) where he was a post-doctoral fellow and conducted part of this research. CSSI receives funding from Newmont Goldcorp Inc.

Citation

Fontana, E., Atif, M. and Heuer, M. (2023), "Implementing social sustainability through market pressures: an inter-organizational network analysis in the Pakistani apparel supply chain", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 53 No. 1, pp. 156-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-07-2021-0265

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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