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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2022

Kati Marttinen and Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen

A firm's ability to cascade sustainability requirements further down to lower-tier suppliers might be affected by inter-firm power relations. This study aimed to identify…

Abstract

Purpose

A firm's ability to cascade sustainability requirements further down to lower-tier suppliers might be affected by inter-firm power relations. This study aimed to identify the power sources of focal firms and first- and lower-tier suppliers and to investigate how they may affect their ability to cascade sustainability requirements along multi-tier supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study of 24 companies was conducted to investigate the sources of power in multi-tier supply chains. In total, 42 informants from five focal companies, ten first-tier suppliers and nine lower-tier suppliers were interviewed.

Findings

Differences were found between the sources from which focal firms and first- and lower-tier suppliers drew power. Findings revealed that firms' power sources may increase or impair their ability to cascade sustainability requirements to lower supply chain tiers. Furthermore, multi-tier supply chain-level power sources constitute a significant determinant of firms' ability to disseminate sustainability requirements to lower-tier suppliers.

Practical implications

The results can help companies and purchasing managers understand how their own and suppliers' power may affect their ability to cascade sustainability agendas to lower-tier suppliers. In particular, the results can be useful for supplier selection and the development of supplier relationship management strategies for fostering sustainability in multi-tier supply chains.

Originality/value

This study places traditional power perspectives in the context of multi-tier sustainable supply chain management, broadening the view beyond dyadic relationships that have traditionally been the focus of the supply management literature.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 42 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 February 2018

Yu Gong, Fu Jia, Steve Brown and Lenny Koh

The purpose of this paper is to explore how multinational corporations (MNCs) orchestrate internal and external resources to help their multi-tier supply chains learn…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how multinational corporations (MNCs) orchestrate internal and external resources to help their multi-tier supply chains learn sustainability-related knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory multiple case study approach was adopted and three MNCs’ sustainable initiatives in China were examined. The data were primarily collected through 43 semi-structured interviews with managers of focal companies and their multi-tier suppliers.

Findings

The authors found that in order to facilitate their supply chains to learn sustainability, MNCs tend to orchestrate in breadth by internally setting up new functional departments and externally working with third parties, and orchestrate in depth working directly with their extreme upstream suppliers adopting varied governance mechanisms on lower-tier suppliers along the project lifecycle. The resource orchestration in breadth and depth and along the project lifecycle results in changes of supply chain structure.

Practical implications

The proposed conceptual model provides an overall framework for companies to design and implement their multi-tier sustainable initiatives. Companies could learn from the suggested learning stages and the best practices of case companies.

Originality/value

The authors extend and enrich resource orchestration perspective (ROP), which is internally focused, to a supply chain level, and answer a theoretical question of how MNCs orchestrate their internal and external resources to help their supply chains to learn sustainability. The extension of ROP refutes the resource dependence theory, which adopts a passive approach of relying on external suppliers and proposes that MNCs should proactively work with internal and external stakeholders to learn sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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

Keywords

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.

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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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 August 2021

Caroline Emberson, Silvia Maria Pinheiro and Alexander Trautrims

The purpose of this paper is to examine how first-tier suppliers in multi-tier supply chains adapt their vertical and horizontal relationships to reduce the risk of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how first-tier suppliers in multi-tier supply chains adapt their vertical and horizontal relationships to reduce the risk of slavery-like practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Using Archer’s morphogenetic theory as an analytical lens, this paper presents case analyses adduced from primary and secondary data related to the development of relational anti-slavery supply capabilities in Brazilian–UK beef and timber supply chains.

Findings

Four distinct types of adaptation were found among first-tier suppliers: horizontal systemisation, vertical systemisation, horizontal transformation and vertical differentiation.

Research limitations/implications

This study draws attention to the socially situated nature of corporate action, moving beyond the rationalistic discourse that underpins existing research studies of multi-tier, socially sustainable, supply chain management. Cross-sector comparison highlights sub-country and intra-sectoral differences in both institutional setting and the approaches and outcomes of individual corporate actors’ initiatives. Sustainable supply chain management theorists would do well to seek out those institutional entrepreneurs who actively reshape the institutional conditions within which they find themselves situated.

Practical implications

Practitioners may benefit from adopting a structured approach to the analysis of the necessary or contingent complementarities between their, primarily economic, objectives and the social sustainability goals of other, potential, organizational partners.

Social implications

A range of interventions that may serve to reduce the risk of slavery-like practices in global commodity chains are presented.

Originality/value

This paper presents a novel analysis of qualitative empirical data and extends understanding of the agential role played by first-tier suppliers in global, multi-tier, commodity, supply chains.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 June 2021

Shoufeng Cao, Kim Bryceson and Damian Hine

The aim of this paper is to explore the value of collaborative risk management in a decentralised multi-tier global fresh produce supply chain.

386

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore the value of collaborative risk management in a decentralised multi-tier global fresh produce supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilised a mixed methods approach. A qualitative field study was conducted to examine the need for collaborative risk management. The simulation experiments with industry datasets were conducted to assess whether risk-sharing contracts work in mitigating joint risks in parts of and across the supply chain.

Findings

The qualitative field study revealed risk propagation and the inefficiency of company-specific risk management strategies in value delivery. The simulation results indicated that risk-sharing contracts can incentivise various actors to absorb interrelated risks for value creation.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to risks relevant to supply chain processes in the Australia–China table grrape supply chain and does not consider product-related risks and the risk-taking behaviours of supply chain actors.

Practical implications

Collaborative risk management can be deployed to mitigate systematic risks that disrupt global fresh produce supply chains. The results offer evidence-based knowledge to supply chain professionals in understanding the value of collaborative risk assessment and management and provide insights on how to conduct collaborative risk management for effective risk management.

Originality/value

The results contribute to the supply chain risk management literature by new collaborative forms for effective risk management and strategic competition of “supply chain to supply chain” in multi-tier food supply chains.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Elcio M. Tachizawa and Chee Yew Wong

The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive framework that synthesizes approaches and contingency variables to manage the sustainability of multi-tier supply

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive framework that synthesizes approaches and contingency variables to manage the sustainability of multi-tier supply chains and sub-suppliers.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a systematic literature review, the authors analyse 39 studies and relevant theories to develop a comprehensive framework that integrates research efforts so far.

Findings

The authors build a conceptual framework that incorporates four approaches to manage the sustainability of multi-tier supply chains. They also identify several contingency variables (e.g. power, dependency, distance, industry, knowledge resources) and their effect on the proposed approaches.

Research limitations/implications

Based on the framework, six research propositions that advance the theories on multi-tier supply chain management, allow lead firms to develop comprehensive sustainable supply chain strategies and set the ground for future research in the area were developed.

Originality/value

This study provides a novel framework for studying sustainability in multi-tier supply chains that goes beyond the single-tier perspective and incorporates the extended supply chain.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 6 August 2020

Liyuan Wang-Mlynek and Kai Foerstl

Multi-tier supply chain risk management (MSCRM) is an evolving and dynamic field, as any defaults or glitches in supply chains can potentially harm the efficiency and…

1440

Abstract

Purpose

Multi-tier supply chain risk management (MSCRM) is an evolving and dynamic field, as any defaults or glitches in supply chains can potentially harm the efficiency and competitiveness of the entire supply chain. This study aims to investigate barriers to MSCRM in the automotive and civil aircraft industries.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts an inductive case study research design. The case analysis includes two parts. First, the within-case analysis develops case profiles and identifies critical categories. Second, the cross-case analysis compares MSCRM patterns across the cases.

Findings

This study argues that narrow information sharing and communication covering only the immediate supply chain partners obstruct the efficiency of MSCRM. Similarly, high dependency on strategic alliances with suppliers hinders efficient MSCRM. Additionally, relying on information and communication technologies (ICT) increases companies' exposure to risks and poses another barrier to efficient MSCRM.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should be pursued to expand generalizability and test the validity of the findings using other forms of data collection and methodologies, such as large-scale surveys, experiments or secondary data across different sectors and typical supply networks.

Practical implications

This study provides empirical evidence on the obstacles faced by companies during the process of MSCRM. These findings can guide practitioners in developing initiatives to overcome these challenges.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to investigate the barriers to MSCRM in the automotive and civil aircraft industries using in-depth case studies across three tiers of the supply chain.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 October 2018

Philipp C. Sauer and Stefan Seuring

This study aims to investigate the under-researched role of the sub-supplier’s direct environment in achieving compliance with multi-tier sustainable supply chain

2551

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the under-researched role of the sub-supplier’s direct environment in achieving compliance with multi-tier sustainable supply chain management (MT-SSCM) objectives.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on conceptual research, this study aims to generalize the characteristics of multi-tier supply chains in light of institutional theory and supply chain (SC) uncertainty to enhance the understanding of their complex interrelationship.

Findings

A three-dimensional framework is built around the supply and demand uncertainty as well as the pressures for sustainability exerted by the supplier’s direct environment to propose ideal constellations for the application of MT-SSCM. Moreover, research directions and implications for the alteration of suboptimal constellations are developed.

Practical implications

Incorporating the supplier’s environment in the choice of MT-SSCM practices couples the sustainability priorities of the focal firm and the supplier. This enables a more complete picture of the sustainability objectives and sustainable development aims of the SC partners.

Originality/value

On the basis of institutional theory, the study extends current MT-SSCM concepts by including the supplier’s direct environment in the choice of ideal management practices in a particular SC setup. It provides a definition of a multi-tier SC as an institutional field and a number of research implications regarding MT-SSCM as well as generic SSCM. Moreover, the proposed framework helps SC managers to understand the complex interplay of the SC partners’ sustainability aims and provides implications for choosing the most suitable MT-SSCM practices.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 September 2019

Cristina Sancha, Josep F. Mària S.J. and Cristina Gimenez

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how a focal firm can manage sustainability in its lower-tier suppliers which lie beyond the firm’s visible horizon.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how a focal firm can manage sustainability in its lower-tier suppliers which lie beyond the firm’s visible horizon.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a new approach to managing sustainability in multi-tier supply chains with an illustrative case study that analyzes how electronic equipment firms make efforts to verify that they are not using conflict minerals.

Findings

The nexus supplier (smelters in the electronics supply chain) plays a relevant role in increasing visibility and tracing the source of minerals, thus guaranteeing sustainability upstream in the supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on a specific supply chain (i.e. electronics supply chain) and therefore its conclusions might be only partially generalized to other sectors.

Practical implications

Firms in complex supply chains need to make efforts to identify and manage nexus suppliers to extend sustainability upstream in the supply chain, especially beyond their visible horizon.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on management of sustainability in the invisible zone of the supply chain, which has been neglected in previous literature and is increasingly important to the managerial world in an economy with a growing number of global supply chains.

Details

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-0705

Keywords

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