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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2019

Roya Manuela Akhavan and Dimitar Zvezdov

Gaining a better understanding of various actors’ information demands and developing suitable approaches to fulfilling them is key in managing sustainability performance…

Abstract

Purpose

Gaining a better understanding of various actors’ information demands and developing suitable approaches to fulfilling them is key in managing sustainability performance in supply chains. Sustainability thereby creates different levels of uncertainty and equivocality. This paper investigates the challenges in managing sustainability information flows along several nodes in the supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study approach explores the various sustainability information needs along different nodes of supply chains. For this, three automotive triads are investigated, each comprising an original equipment manufacturer, a first-tier supplier and a second-tier supplier.

Findings

The results reveal that fulfilling information demands presents a substantial challenge to each of the three actors, albeit a different one in each case: whereas focal companies seek to figure out what information may be relevant to sustainability performance, their direct suppliers struggle to develop suitable approaches for enabling second-tier suppliers to generate and provide such information.

Practical implications

Depending on the level of uncertainty and equivocality, companies are supported in approaching sustainability information needs by applying individual or collective processing mechanisms. Decisions on such mechanisms and organisational structure can help to allocate resources according to the degree of challenges to achieve a fit between information needs and mechanisms.

Social implications

Reducing uncertainty and equivocality related to sustainability information provides a powerful approach to improving the sustainability performance along supply chains.

Originality/value

Having identified sustainability information challenges, the paper analyses and develops a typology of potentially useful approaches.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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