The purpose of this paper is to investigate how synergies between lean and green supply chain practices emerge. In particular, the authors explore which practices identified in the literature are actually implemented in a synergic way and determine what synergic results they bring.
An in-depth case study of the Brazilian subsidiary of a large multinational company was conducted using interviews, in-plant observations and document analysis.
The majority of the practices (26 out of 31) bring synergic results to lean and green performance. Synergies can emerge spontaneously (rather than being strategized) even when the implementation of green and lean practices is compartmentalized in different areas, with no department or supportive management team to treat them in a joined way. The strongest synergic results are found in practices related to suppliers and customers because these supply chain actors act as bridges between the lean and green areas.
The authors did not have access to the company customers and suppliers. This restriction made the analysis of drivers skewed towards the perspective of the focal company and the way they framed their interactions. Second, the assessment of synergies was in the majority of cases qualitative.
Empirically, it is the first time that all synergic practices identified in the literature are explored through a case study. Theoretically, the authors developed a model of determinants of lean and green synergies based on constructs emerging from the data; behavioural literature in synergies and research on synergies in mergers and acquisitions.
The authors would like to thank CNPq (National Council of Technological and Scientific Development) for supporting this research.
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