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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Christian Busse, Martin C. Schleper, Jenny Weilenmann and Stephan M. Wagner

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how buying firms facing low supply chain visibility can utilize their stakeholder network to identify salient supply chain…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how buying firms facing low supply chain visibility can utilize their stakeholder network to identify salient supply chain sustainability risks (SCSR).

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a design science approach to develop a procedural model for identifying SCSR as a new artifact. A small-scale field-testing study in a food supply chain of a Swiss retail firm demonstrates its applicability and pragmatic validity.

Findings

When stakeholder knowledge external to the supply chain is regarded as a valuable resource, a generic understanding of a buying firm’s supply chain suffices to identify SCSR hotspots without creating complexity for the SCSR management.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to the study of SCSR by identifying mechanisms buying firms can employ to identify SCSR hotspots and fostering the nascent understanding of responsibility attribution by stakeholders. Moreover, the emerging theory of the supply chain is enriched by paving a way to extend the supply chain visibility boundary. The procedural model is presumably most useful in contexts of elevated stakeholder pressure and low supply chain visibility. Future research should seek to validate and improve the effectiveness of the newly designed artifact.

Practical implications

The procedural model is directly applicable in corporate practice to the identification of SCSR. Moreover, its application fosters the understanding of a firm’s supply chain and its stakeholder network.

Originality/value

SCSR is an increasingly important phenomenon in corporate practice that has received only scarce research attention. The design science approach represents a valuable means for generating theoretical insights and emergent solutions to the real-world problem of SCSR identification.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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