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Inside the multi-tier supply firm: exploring responses to institutional pressures and challenges for sustainable supply management

Inside the multi-tier supply firm: exploring responses to institutional pressures and challenges... 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/approachThis 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.FindingsThe 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/implicationsBy 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 implicationsThe 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/valueThis 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Operations & Production Management Emerald Publishing

Inside the multi-tier supply firm: exploring responses to institutional pressures and challenges for sustainable supply management

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0144-3577
DOI
10.1108/ijopm-09-2020-0651
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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/approachThis 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.FindingsThe 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/implicationsBy 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 implicationsThe 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/valueThis 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.

Journal

International Journal of Operations & Production ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 19, 2021

Keywords: Sustainable supply management; Multi-tier supply chains; Institutional theory; (De)coupling responses; Institutional logics; Trade-offs

References