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Sustainable supply chain management in emerging economies: Environmental turbulence, institutional voids and sustainability trajectories

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  • Silvestre, Bruno S.

Abstract

Although research on supply chain management has made many valuable contributions, there is a dearth of empirical evidence and theoretical reflection on the characteristics of supply chains that operate mainly in developing and emerging economies. The aim of this paper is to help to fill this gap by exploring how supply chain sustainability can be implemented and managed in these settings. An in-depth case study of the upstream oil and gas industry supply chain in Brazil was used to develop propositions about supply chains that operate in developing settings. Drawing from institutional theory, evolutionary theory, complexity theory, and from the organizational learning, innovation, and strategy literatures, this paper offers four key findings and contributions to the supply chain literature. First, it shows that becoming a sustainable supply chain is not a destination, but a journey, where trajectory and time matter. Given the evolutionary nature of supply chain sustainability trajectories, this paper highlights that supply chains learn and evolve just as organizations do. Second, this research indicates that, although globalization is a trend, natural resource-based supply chains are often more geographically bounded and susceptible to local social demands than other supply chains. Third, this paper extends the supply chain literature by arguing that supply chains face additional barriers to sustainability in developing and emerging economies, which contribute to a higher degree of complexity and uncertainty due to the existence of highly turbulent business environments and institutional voids. These factors in turn hinder supply chain learning and innovation, and reduce the slope of supply chains sustainability trajectories. Finally, this research contributes to the literature by claiming that, due to the highly complex and uncertain business environments, in these settings focal companies play an even more important role in managing the escalating ambiguity, stimulating supply chain learning, and promoting innovation towards supply chains enhanced sustainability performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvestre, Bruno S., 2015. "Sustainable supply chain management in emerging economies: Environmental turbulence, institutional voids and sustainability trajectories," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 156-169.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:167:y:2015:i:c:p:156-169
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2015.05.025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ding, Huiping & Zhao, Qilan & An, Zhirong & Tang, Ou, 2016. "Collaborative mechanism of a sustainable supply chain with environmental constraints and carbon caps," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 181(PA), pages 191-207.
    2. Che Wan Jasimah Bt Wan Mohamed Radzi & Hashem Salarzadeh Jenatabadi & Maisarah Binti Hasbullah, 2015. "Firm Sustainability Performance Index Modeling," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(12), pages 1-17, December.
    3. Dubey, Rameshwar & Gunasekaran, Angappa & Childe, Stephen J. & Papadopoulos, Thanos & Hazen, Benjamin & Giannakis, Mihalis & Roubaud, David, 2017. "Examining the effect of external pressures and organizational culture on shaping performance measurement systems (PMS) for sustainability benchmarking: Some empirical findings," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 63-76.
    4. Wan Ahmad, Wan Nurul K. & Rezaei, Jafar & de Brito, Marisa P. & Tavasszy, Lóránt A., 2016. "The influence of external factors on supply chain sustainability goals of the oil and gas industry," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 302-314.
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