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Sustainable supply chain clusters: an integrated framework

Mahmoud Ramadan Barakat (Logistics of International Trade Department, Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport, College of International Transport and Logistics, Alexandria, Egypt)
Nicoleta Tipi (Department of People and Organisations, The Open University Business School, Milton Keynes, UK)
Jialin Snow Wu (Department of Logistics, Marketing, Hospitality and Analytics, University of Huddersfield Business School, Huddersfield, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 February 2023

Issue publication date: 17 March 2023




This research aims to provide a conceptual framework with the scope to assist in establishing sustainable supply chain clusters (SCCs) by providing an instrument for organisations to enhance the three sustainability dimensions in a dynamic environment.


This research proposes a conceptual framework to enhance sustainability and organisational performance through three theoretical lenses: the system theory, extended resource-based view and the dynamic capabilities (DCs) theory. This approach is carried out through a comprehensive review of the existing literature on SCCs.


Four main propositions are formulated and demonstrated using the developed framework, which expands the discussion about SCCs and their key characteristics in a dynamic environment. This is particularly relevant as it allows empirical testing of the theories in an SCC context.

Research limitations/implications

It can be noted that more extensive research is needed to further understand the issues faced in establishing sustainable clusters. Drawing on the theoretical lenses to establish the framework helps to enhance the understanding and operational capabilities of sustainable SCCs during and after disruptions, such as the global disruption created by COVID-19.

Practical implications

This research paves the way to help organisations improve their adaptability to the dynamic business environment by emphasizing the importance of clustering and linking it to sustainability through DCs to establish a sustainable cluster.


This research aims to guide organisations' use of SCCs as tools to enhance sustainability in a dynamic environment, given that the relationship amongst supply chain cluster design characteristics (SCCDCs), DCs and sustainability remains unexplored. The combination of the three theoretical lenses in developing the proposed framework will assist in further understanding the applicability of these theories when they are considered together.



Barakat, M.R., Tipi, N. and Wu, J.S. (2023), "Sustainable supply chain clusters: an integrated framework", Management Decision, Vol. 61 No. 3, pp. 786-814.



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