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Automotive recall risk: impact of buyer‒supplier relationship on supply chain social sustainability

Shereen Nassar (School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Tarek Kandil (Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Merve Er Kara (Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Abhijeet Ghadge (Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, School of Management, Cranfield University, Central Bedfordshire, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 2 October 2019

Issue publication date: 9 April 2020



The purpose of this paper is to examine the automotive product recall risk in terms of social sustainability performance and to evaluate the role of buyer‒supplier relationships in improving social sustainability during product recall crises.


A multi-methodology approach is used to empirically analyse the interrelationship between the proposed constructs and enablers of the buyer‒supplier relationship. Structural equation modelling and interpretive structural modelling are followed to analyse the data gathered thorough a questionnaire survey of 204 executives and interviews with 15 managers from the automotive industry.


The results of the study provide evidence regarding the impact of the responsible buyer‒supplier relationship on customer recall concerns and the social sustainability performance of supply chains (SCs). This study also leads to the development of a conceptual model, providing a relationship between the three key concepts used in this study.

Research limitations/implications

Following social sustainability principles, this study addresses the importance of developing strong, responsible relational ties with suppliers to reduce vehicle recalls or successfully recover from a product recall crisis.


This study contributes to the literature by providing theoretical and empirical insights for developing socially responsible SCs and confirming the role of the buyer‒supplier governance mechanism during product recalls in the context of the automotive industry.



This paper forms part of a special section “TBL (Triple Bottom Line) sustainability and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) driven performance measurement systems”, guest edited by J. J. Thakkar, B. Mahanty and J. Maiti.


Nassar, S., Kandil, T., Er Kara, M. and Ghadge, A. (2020), "Automotive recall risk: impact of buyer‒supplier relationship on supply chain social sustainability", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 69 No. 3, pp. 467-487.



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