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The role of capabilities in shaping sustainable supply chain flexibility and enhancing circular economy-target performance: an empirical study

Surajit Bag (Department of Transport and SCM, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Muhammad Sabbir Rahman (Department of Marketing and International Business, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 23 October 2021

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023

1190

Abstract

Purpose

A circular economy is a popular approach considered by many firms to address sustainable development goals strategically. Literature indicates that collaborative relationships among supply chain partners facilitate circular economy practices. However, there is a dearth of studies in lower-middle-income countries indicating the unique challenges industries face whilst practising circular economy principles and how the challenges can be overcome. To address the calls of previous researchers, this study aims to explore the following relationships: engagement and alliance capability whilst data analytics capability plays a mediating role; the relationship between alliance and data analytics capability with sustainable supply chain flexibility whilst industry dynamism is considered as a moderating variable and the relationship between sustainable supply chain flexibility and circular economy-target performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional survey was performed and data was collected from 760 employees of Indian firms. Covariance-based structural equation modelling was applied to perform the path analysis to determine a firm’s capabilities in shaping sustainable supply chain flexibility and enhancing circular economy target performance.

Findings

Drawing upon dynamic capability theory, it was first established that engagement capability has a positive and significant influence on alliance capability, whilst data analytics capability played a partial mediating role. Second, it was established that alliance capability and data analytics capability significantly affect sustainable supply chain flexibility, whilst industry dynamism played a moderating role. Finally, it was clear that sustainable supply chain flexibility had a significant and positive effect on circular economy target performance, ultimately enhancing sustainability.

Originality/value

This study advances the circular economy literature by recommending that firms must consider some critical operational level capabilities to develop their dynamic capability, i.e. sustainable supply chain flexibility, to better meet the competitive market conditions in turbulent business environments.

Keywords

Citation

Bag, S. and Rahman, M.S. (2023), "The role of capabilities in shaping sustainable supply chain flexibility and enhancing circular economy-target performance: an empirical study", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 162-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-05-2021-0246

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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