Shaping Sustainable Value Chains: Network Determinants of Supply Chain Governance Models

Journal of Business Ethics 90 (S4):607 - 621 (2009)
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Abstract

Although the characteristics and advantages of interorganizational governance models based on extensive collaboration are well established in the literature, inquiry has only recently extended to sustainable supply chain management, highlighting the potential benefits of combining the integration of social and environmental issues concerning the supply chain with governance models based on joint decision making and extensive cooperation. Yet, firms still differ in both the pervasiveness of such collaborative approaches along the value chain and the extent to which sustainability issues are addressed to the advantage of all parties involved. In an attempt to predict variety in the governance models related to sustainability along the value chain, we propose a theoretical model that identifies and frames four sustainable supply chain governance (SSCG) models, resulting from combinations of supply chain network density and centrality of the focal organizations. We show how, as centrality increases, firms are able to exert influence over their network, coordinating integrated approaches along the value chain. Moreover, as high centrality combines with increasing interconnectedness of the actors within a supply chain network, instrumental approaches are progressively replaced by more relational attitudes aimed at joint value creation among partners. Conditions for SSCG models' success and the main benefits gained by firms in different structural contexts are also discussed

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