Supply chain sustainability: a relationship management approach

Cheung, Yan Ki Fiona & Rowlison, Steve (2011) Supply chain sustainability: a relationship management approach. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 4(3), pp. 480-497.

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Purpose: In this research we examined, by means of case studies, the mechanisms by which relationships can be managed and by which communication and cooperation can be enhanced in sustainable supply chains. The research was predicated on the contention that the development of a sustainable supply chain depends, in part, on the transfer of knowledge and capabilities from the larger players in the supply chain.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The research adopted a triangulated approach in which quantitative data were collected by questionnaire, interviews were conducted to explore and enrich the quantitative data and case studies were undertaken in order to illustrate and validate the findings. Handy‟s (1985) view of organisational culture, Allen & Meyer‟s (1990) concepts of organisational commitment and Van de Ven & Ferry‟s (1980) measures of organisational structuring have been combined into a model to test and explain how collaborative mechanisms can affect supply chain sustainability.

Findings: It has been shown that the degree of match and mismatch between organisational culture and structure has an impact on staff‟s commitment level. A sustainable supply chain depends on convergence – that is the match between organisational structuring, organisation culture and organisation commitment.

Research Limitations/implications: The study is a proof of concept and three case studies have been used to illustrate the nature of the model developed. Further testing and refinement of the model in practice should be the next step in this research.

Practical implications: The concept of relationship management needs to filter down to all levels in the supply chain if participants are to retain commitment and buy-in to the relationship. A sustainable supply chain requires proactive relationship management and the development of an appropriate organisational culture, and trust. By legitimising individuals‟ expectations of the type of culture which is appropriate to their company and empowering employees to address mismatches that may occur a situation can be created whereby the collaborating organisations develop their competences symbiotically and so facilitate a sustainable supply chain.

Originality/value: The culture/commitment/structure model developed from three separate strands of management thought has proved to be a powerful tool for analysing collaboration in supply chains and explaining how and why some supply chains are sustainable, and others are not.

Impact and interest:

13 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 28484
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Yan Ki Fiona Cheung is the maiden name of Fiona Lamari
Keywords: Organizational Culture, Organizational Structures, Supply Chain Management, Relationship Management
DOI: 10.1108/17538371111144184
ISSN: 1753-8378
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Deposited On: 13 Sep 2011 21:54
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2014 12:24

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