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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2018

Jan Meinlschmidt, Martin C. Schleper and Kai Foerstl

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how buying firms manage their lower tier sustainability management (LTSM) in their supply networks and what contextual factors…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how buying firms manage their lower tier sustainability management (LTSM) in their supply networks and what contextual factors influence the choice of approaches. As most of the environmental and social burden is caused in lower tiers, the authors use the iceberg analogy.

Design/methodology/approach

Findings from 12 case studies and 53 interviews, publicly available and internal firm data are presented. In an abductive research approach, transaction cost economics (TCE) conceptually guides the analytical iteration processes between theory and data.

Findings

This study provides eight LTSM approaches grouped into three categories: direct (holistic, product-, region-, and event-specific) indirect (multiplier-, alliance- and compliance-based) and neglect (tier-1-based). Focal firms choose between these approaches depending on the strength of observed contextual factors (stakeholder salience, structural supply network complexity, product and industry salience, past supply network incidents, socio-economic and cultural distance and lower tier supplier dependency), leading to perceived sustainability risk (PSR).

Research limitations/implications

By depicting TCE’s theoretical boundaries in predicting LTSM governance modes, the theory is elevated to the supply network level of analysis. Future research should investigate LTSM at the purchasing category level of analysis to compare and contrast PSR profiles for different purchase tasks and to validate and extend the framework.

Practical implications

This study serves as a blueprint for the development of firms’ LTSM capabilities that suit their unique PSR profiles. It offers knowledge regarding what factors influence these profiles and presents a model that links the effectiveness of different LTSM approaches to resource intensity.

Originality/value

This study extends the application of TCE and adds empirically to the literature on multi-tier and sustainable supply chain management.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2021

Shobod Deba Nath and Gabriel Eweje

The purpose of this study is to examine how multi-tier suppliers respond to the institutional pressures for the implementation of sustainable supply management (SSM…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how multi-tier suppliers respond to the institutional pressures for the implementation of sustainable supply management (SSM) practices in supply chains, and what institutional logics allow them to do so.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employs a qualitative research design, drawing on data from semi-structured interviews with 46 owners and managers of multi-tier suppliers and 18 key informants of diverse stakeholders. Following an abductive approach, institutional theory conceptually guides the analytical iteration processes between theory and interview data.

Findings

The findings demonstrate two kinds of thematic responses to institutional pressures – coupling (good side) and decoupling (dark side) of the supply chain – used by the factory management of multi-tier suppliers. This paper also identifies multiple institutional logics – market-led logic, values-led logic and holistic sustainability logic – that are perceived to conflict (trade-offs) and complement (synergies) the SSM implementation.

Research limitations/implications

By investigating the perspectives of the factory management of upstream apparel suppliers, this study enhances the understanding of the connection between (de)coupling responses and institutional logics inside the multi-tier supplier firms. Further research would be required to include more downstream tiers including the ultimate users.

Practical implications

The findings may be of particular attention to brand-owning apparel retailers, industry leaders and policymakers who are seeking to understand multi-tier suppliers' challenges, conflicts and (de)coupling responses, and become aware of how they can be dealt with.

Originality/value

This study contributes to and expands the embryonic research stream of sustainable multi-tier supply chain management by connecting it to the wider application of institutional theory.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2020

Leila Alinaghian, Jilin Qiu and Kamran Razmdoost

The purpose of this paper is to systematically review and assess the current status of research on supply chain sustainability from a network structural perspective and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to systematically review and assess the current status of research on supply chain sustainability from a network structural perspective and provide an organising framework for future scholarship in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

By adopting an evidence-based approach, this study conducts a systematic review of 73 articles from 18 peer-reviewed journals published between 2000 and 2020.

Findings

Adopting a social network analysis approach, the review identifies specific node-level (i.e. degree centrality, closeness centrality and betweenness centrality) and network-level (i.e. network density, network sub-groups and network diversity) structural properties that play a role in supply chain sustainability. The results reveal that structural properties determine the extent of perception of sustainability risks, the diffusion of sustainability targets, introduction of sustainable innovations, development of sustainability capabilities, adoption of sustainability initiatives and the monitoring of sustainability performance throughout the supply chain.

Originality/value

By distinguishing between supply network and sustainable supply network types, this study extends the existing understandings of the role of network connectivity patterns in supply chain sustainability through synthesising and evaluating the extant literature. This study further clarifies the role of these network structural properties in supply chain sustainability by describing their impact on a set of sustainable supply chain management practices through which firms achieve sustainability goals across their supply chains.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2019

Sangho Chae, Benn Lawson, Thomas J. Kull and Thomas Choi

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the behavioral tendencies of supply managers when they are faced with uncertainty in making multi-tier sourcing decisions.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the behavioral tendencies of supply managers when they are faced with uncertainty in making multi-tier sourcing decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses the literature on multi-tier supply chains and behavioral decision making to develop a theoretical framework for examining factors influencing a supply manager’s decision to retain control over sourcing in the multi-tier context. An experimental vignette methodology is used to gather data from 259 supply managers.

Findings

Results suggest that supply managers choose to exert less multi-tier control when they have high levels of interpersonal trust in the tier-1 supplier’s sales representative. This effect is accentuated by a high level of familiarity with potential lower-tier suppliers. Under high levels of familiarity with potential lower-tier suppliers, supply managers will exert greater levels of multi-tier sourcing control as the behavioral uncertainty of the tier-1 supplier increases.

Practical implications

Buying firms can enhance their understanding of supply managers’ multi-tier sourcing decision making and the potential biases associated with it. Suggestions for a more effective use of multi-tier sourcing are provided in the Discussion section.

Originality/value

Multi-tier sourcing is an increasingly important area of research, and this paper is the first to examine individual supply managers’ behavioral decision making in the multi-tier context. This paper also contributes to the outsourcing literature by investigating behavioral factors influencing the outsourcing of sourcing activities.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 7 July 2020

Shobod Deba Nath, Gabriel Eweje and Aymen Sajjad

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how sub-suppliers decouple the implementation of sustainable supply management practices in supply chains, and what…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how sub-suppliers decouple the implementation of sustainable supply management practices in supply chains, and what institutional logics permit these suppliers to do so.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a qualitative design, we conducted 23 in-depth semi-structured interviews with owners and managers of apparel sub-suppliers. To corroborate research findings, the views of owners and managers were triangulated by further interviewing 18 key representatives of wide-ranging institutional actors.

Findings

The findings suggest that owners and managers of sub-suppliers use two decoupling responses: (1) consensual strategy to compromise sustainability requirements (2) concealment strategy. In addition, this paper identifies multiple institutional types of conflicting logics: instrumental logic, legitimacy logic complexity and gaps in normative logic, which interplay amongst sub-suppliers whereby permit to decouple the implementation of supply management practices.

Research limitations/implications

While the current paper provides an early contribution from the perspectives of second-tier and third-tier suppliers, future research could be extended to include further upstream sub-suppliers and downstream tiers including the end consumers.

Practical implications

It is important for brand-owning retailers and first-tier suppliers to predict sub-suppliers' decoupling behaviour and conflicts for supply management practices implementation since they may present potential vulnerability for buyers and lead suppliers.

Originality/value

This study extends the application of institutional theory and contributes to the literature on extended suppliers' supply management practices in a developing country context, which is an under-researched area.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 40 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 22 May 2020

Osama Meqdadi, Thomas E. Johnsen, Rhona E. Johnsen and Asta Salmi

This paper aims to investigate the impact of monitoring and mentoring strategies on sustainability diffusion within supply networks through focal companies and how…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the impact of monitoring and mentoring strategies on sustainability diffusion within supply networks through focal companies and how suppliers engage in implementing these strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on three in-depth case studies conducted with focal companies and their suppliers. An interaction approach was adopted to guide the analysis of focal companies’ strategies for implementing and diffusing sustainability in supply networks.

Findings

The monitoring strategy impacts sustainability diffusion at the dyadic level, while the mentoring strategy is a prerequisite for the diffusion of sustainability at the supply network level. The findings suggest that coupling monitoring with mentoring can lead to diffusion beyond first-tier suppliers. Interaction intensity, supplier proactiveness and mindset change facilitate sustainability diffusion in supply networks.

Research limitations/implications

The authors suggest more research be conducted on specific practices within monitoring and mentoring, as some of these imply very different levels of commitment and interaction.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that in the future, companies will be increasingly called upon to adopt cooperative initiatives to enable the diffusion of sustainability in supply networks.

Originality/value

The contribution of the paper lies in its identification of the impacts of monitoring and mentoring strategies on the diffusion of sustainability in networks, revealing different supplier engagement in these strategies, which may foster or hinder sustainability diffusion.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 December 2020

Stelvia V. Matos, Martin C. Schleper, Stefan Gold and Jeremy K. Hall

The research is based on a critically analyzed literature review focused on the unanticipated outcomes, trade-offs and tensions of sustainable operations and supply chain…

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3239

Abstract

Purpose

The research is based on a critically analyzed literature review focused on the unanticipated outcomes, trade-offs and tensions of sustainable operations and supply chain management (OSCM), including the articles selected for this special issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors introduce the key concepts, issues and theoretical foundations of this special issue on “The hidden side of sustainable operations and supply chain management (OSCM): Unanticipated outcomes, trade-offs and tensions”. The authors explore these issues within this context, and how they may hinder the authors' transition to more sustainable practices.

Findings

The authors present an overview of unanticipated outcomes, trade-offs, tensions and influencing factors from the literature, and identify how such problems may emerge. The model addresses these problems by highlighting the crucial effect of the underlying state of knowledge on sustainable OSCM decision-making.

Research limitations/implications

The authors limited the literature review to journals that ranked 2 and above as defined by the Chartered Association of Business Schools Academic Journal Guide. The main implication for research is a call to focus attention on unanticipated outcomes as a starting point rather than only an afterthought. For practitioners, good intentions such as sustainability initiatives need careful consideration for potential unanticipated outcomes.

Originality/value

The study provides the first critical review of unanticipated outcomes, trade-offs and tensions in the sustainable OSCM discourse. While the literature review (including papers in this special issue) significantly contributes toward describing these issues, it is still unclear how such problems emerge. The model developed in this paper addresses this gap by highlighting the crucial effect of the underlying state of knowledge concerned with sustainable OSCM decision-making.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 40 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2021

Saif Mir, Brian S. Fugate, Jonathan L. Johnson and Misty Blessley

The purpose of this paper is to understand communication pathways and factors that cause sustainability initiatives to become contagious from downstream to upstream…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand communication pathways and factors that cause sustainability initiatives to become contagious from downstream to upstream members of a supply chain, which is termed sustainable supply chain contagion (SSCC).

Design/methodology/approach

This study takes an inductive, grounded theory approach, while utilizing established theories.

Findings

The decision to implement a sustainability initiative depends on the business case for the organization. Importantly, the findings outline several network and communication factors that overcome the weak business case and, therefore, foster SSCC. Based on these findings, a communication network model of SSCC is outlined. Network factors include the contagion pathways, the role of sustainability and top management teams and communication channels. Communication factors include the alignment of sustainability initiatives with departmental objectives, the articulation of goals and assuring the endurance of a sustainability initiative.

Practical implications

Managers can utilize the proposed model to create conditions that strengthen the business case of a proposed sustainability initiative, thus fostering SSCC. The presented findings reveal different tactics that can assist organizations in communicating sustainability initiatives in a persuasive manner, to permit the proliferation of sustainability across the supply chain.

Originality/value

This research enables a multilevel examination of the factors influencing SSCC.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 51 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2019

Santosh K. Mahapatra, Ram Narasimhan and Paolo Barbieri

The purpose of this paper is to examine the buyer–supplier exchange dynamic in terms of the influence of product and market contingencies on the interfirm connectivity…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the buyer–supplier exchange dynamic in terms of the influence of product and market contingencies on the interfirm connectivity, governance and exchange performance of interconnected dyads in multitier supply chains (MSCs).

Design/methodology/approach

Using an inductive approach, the authors analyzed the supply network of a high-end motorcycle manufacturer (OEM). Four sets of “interconnected dyads” constituting four embedded units of analysis were considered, each involving the OEM, its tier 1 and corresponding tier 2 suppliers. These interconnected dyads representing four strategic components and their sub-components offer contrasts in terms of product and market contingencies.

Findings

This analysis reveals that product and market contingencies influence patterns of dependence among firms. These in turn impact interfirm connectivity (i.e. structural characteristic), and the degree of contract formalization, collaboration and concentration of decision-making power (i.e. governance characteristics) in the interconnected dyads. The authors also found that structural and governance aspects can have mutual influence, leading to satisfactory or unsatisfactory outcomes. Propositions synthesizing the relationships among the constructs are developed.

Research limitations/implications

The constructs and their underlying relationships need to be further refined if we are to devise hypotheses and validate them at a large-scale empirical level.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to explore the influence of business contingencies on the complex buyer–supplier exchange dynamic in MSCs having a “beyond the dyad” perspective. The authors address why and how various types of interconnectivity are developed, and how the interplay among interfirm dependence, connectivity and governance influences the suppliers’ performance in the MSCs.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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