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Mediated power and sustainable supplier management (SSM): Linking power use, justice, and supplier performance

Yinfei Chen (School of Finance and Economics, Institute of Industrial Economics, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China)
Injazz J. Chen (Department of Operations and Supply Chain Management, Monte Ahuja College of Business, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 2 October 2019

Issue publication date: 2 October 2019

678

Abstract

Purpose

As focal buyers implement sustainable supplier management (SSM) to advance their supply chain sustainability, the purpose of this paper is to provide a more nuanced understanding of how buyers’ use of power may incite varying perceptions of justice from suppliers that affect sustainable supplier performance (SSP).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on multidisciplinary literature and collects empirical data from 181 supplying firms in China to examine the complex links among power use, justice, SSM, and sustainable performance using partial least squares structural equation modeling.

Findings

Both coercive and reward buyer power can facilitate SSM implementation and justice perception moderates the impact of SSM on SSP. Furthermore, coercive power adversely influences justice evaluation, thereby attenuating the effect of SSM on performance.

Research limitations/implications

This study complements and extends sustainable supply chain management research by evaluating SSM: on environmental, social and economic performance; from the perspectives of suppliers; and in an emerging market where many suppliers of Western firms are located. It also adds to behavioral SCM research by examining how buyers’ exercise of power might influence suppliers’ justice perception.

Practical implications

To implement SSM, focal buyers cannot simply issue codes of conduct to suppliers and ignore suppliers’ disposition to commit to standards. While coercive power might be convenient and tempting for buying firms, managers ought to be judicious in the use of coercion.

Originality/value

This is the first large-scale empirical investigation on the links among power use, justice, SSM and sustainable performance from the perspectives of suppliers in an emerging economy.

Keywords

Citation

Chen, Y. and Chen, I.J. (2019), "Mediated power and sustainable supplier management (SSM): Linking power use, justice, and supplier performance", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 49 No. 8, pp. 861-878. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-12-2018-0393

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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