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Investigation of sustainable supply chain management: a social network perspective

Lu, Haiyan 2017. Investigation of sustainable supply chain management: a social network perspective. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Sustainable supply chain management (SCM) has become a heating topic for academic research as well as managerial practice. Implementing sustainable SCM requires firms and their supply chains simultaneously commit to economic, environmental and social practices. From a social network perspective, this study aims to investigate the influence of social ties on supply chain network relationship, and the impacts on sustainable SCM implementation. The research adopts a critical realism stance to guide methodological approach and research design, which drives the adoption of a mixed-method approach for data collection. A questionnaire survey yielded 476 usable responses, analysed through Structural Equation Modelling. Further, in-depth case studies of three supply chain networks with 16 companies were developed to elaborate the discussions and understand the drivers of sustainable SCM. The survey shows that social networks between buyers and suppliers positively increase the flow of supply chain capital, including financial, social and human capital flow, which then enhances implementation of environmental and social sustainability in supply chains. The case studies have confirmed the statistical results, and further developed the insights of the topic. Three supply chain network structure were included in this study– pooled, sequential and reciprocal networks. Research shows that the drivers for implementation of sustainable SCM is multifaceted. Social networks impact on dependency, transparency and distance among supply chain actors, as a result of influencing network economic and governance in the constructed structure. However, institutional pressure remains the major driver for sustainable practice, meanwhile, company strategy moderates the external drivers from social networks and institutional forces. The current study contributes to investigating sustainable SCM from social network perspective to investigate how social networks influence supply chain capital flow, supply chain structure and network structure. Further contributions come from showing the connection between formal institutional and personal ties, external factors and internal strategy. There is also a methodological contribution based upon the adoption of social network theory and mixed method approaches in sustainable SCM research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 March 2018
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2019 02:28

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