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Supply chain learning of sustainability in multi-tier supply chains: A resource orchestration perspective

Supply chain learning of sustainability in multi-tier supply chains: A resource orchestration perspective
Supply chain learning of sustainability in multi-tier supply chains: A resource orchestration perspective

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.

Case study, Governance mechanisms, Multi-tier supply chain, Resource orchestration, Supply chain learning, Sustainability
0144-3577
1061-1090
Gong, Yu
86c8d37a-744d-46ab-8b43-18447ccaf39c
Jia, Fu
0a5c6c40-068a-4b10-b636-963b1c7060e9
Brown, Steve
b4aaf64c-2032-4715-a9ea-ef5e604b5de1
Koh, Lenny
356a0735-a3eb-4733-88ab-65f64f444901
Gong, Yu
86c8d37a-744d-46ab-8b43-18447ccaf39c
Jia, Fu
0a5c6c40-068a-4b10-b636-963b1c7060e9
Brown, Steve
b4aaf64c-2032-4715-a9ea-ef5e604b5de1
Koh, Lenny
356a0735-a3eb-4733-88ab-65f64f444901

Gong, Yu, Jia, Fu, Brown, Steve and Koh, Lenny (2018) Supply chain learning of sustainability in multi-tier supply chains: A resource orchestration perspective. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 38 (4), 1061-1090. (doi:10.1108/IJOPM-05-2017-0306).

Record type: Article

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.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 January 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 February 2018
Published date: April 2018
Keywords: Case study, Governance mechanisms, Multi-tier supply chain, Resource orchestration, Supply chain learning, Sustainability

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 416993
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/416993
ISSN: 0144-3577
PURE UUID: d05cc984-e989-443f-94be-f2b3b7616ed8

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Date deposited: 16 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 27 Apr 2018 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Yu Gong
Author: Fu Jia
Author: Steve Brown
Author: Lenny Koh

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