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Supply chain integration capabilities, green design strategy and performance: a comparative study in the auto industry

Yang Liu (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Constantin Blome (Business School, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)
Joe Sanderson (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Antony Paulraj (Business School, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 12 October 2018

Issue publication date: 17 October 2018




This paper aims to examine how supply chain integration capabilities inform green design strategy adoption and whether green design strategy can lead to higher levels of environmental and economic performance.


A survey-based approach was used to empirically test the study hypotheses. Based on 216 usable responses collected from automakers around the globe, the authors compared the results from two different data groups (i.e. Chinese firms vs Western firms) using the structural equation modeling approach.


In the Chinese context, both internal and external supply chain integration capabilities are significantly related to the successful adoption of a green design strategy. However, the relationships are not significant in Western context. Green design is found to positively impact environmental performance in both contexts; however, no significant relationship is revealed between green design and economic performance in either context. Finally, environmental performance was found to have a significant and positive impact on economic performance in both contexts.

Research limitations/implications

The cross-sectional survey design that was focused only on the auto industry may affect the inferences of causality and generalizability of this study.

Practical implications

Managers should understand their specific organizational context first, and then strategically develop their external and internal supply chain integration capabilities to maximize their green design efforts for improved environmental performance. Companies can be certain that the more gains made in environmental management, the more economic returns can be expected.


This research contributes to the existing resource-based view literature by linking supply chain integration capabilities to green design strategy adoption in different organizational contexts. It also sheds a light on the association between green design and different performance dimensions and adds value to the current debate on the association between environmental performance and economic performance.



Liu, Y., Blome, C., Sanderson, J. and Paulraj, A. (2018), "Supply chain integration capabilities, green design strategy and performance: a comparative study in the auto industry", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 431-443.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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