Dynamics of Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Bibliometric Literature Review

Dynamics of Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Post-COVID-19 Era: A Bibliometric Literature Review

Nesrin Ozcan Akdag, Mustafa Zihni Tunca
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2523-7.ch018
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The fragility of the global economy during the COVID-19 outbreak has shown the importance of supply chain sustainability. Although academic interest in the concept of sustainable supply chain management has risen significantly in the last decades, this concept has lately attracted the attention of policymakers as one of the dynamics of the “new normal” in the post-COVID-19 era. This study was carried out to highlight the dynamics of SSCM in the post-COVID-19 era, based on the recent developments in sustainable supply chain literature. Hence, the bibliometric analysis method was utilized by using various software packages. The data collected for this research consists of the finding of the search results of the “Sustainable Supply Chain Management” phrase from the Web of Science database for the period of 1975 – 2021. In total, 326 articles have been included in the analyses.
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With the globalizing economies, the needs of societies, the way businesses work and competition methods are changing rapidly. This globalization process has made it necessary to develop and implement supply chain management (SCM) strategies. One of the applications that will provide the best competitive advantage for businesses is sustainable supply chain management. With the new world order, businesses started to see the world as a single market in terms of both supply and sales of the products they produce. Supply chain managers' duties should be focusing on functional relationships between global organizations as well as creating a strong link amongst the supply chain members. In other words, they must ensure a sustainable value chain.

The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus could not be prevented and it became a pandemic, deeply affecting almost all countries and regions. The coronavirus pandemic has become one of the most important threats to the world. The COVID-19 outbreak has not only cost the lives and the health of millions of people but also negatively affected the global economy. The pandemic has devastating effects on all supply chains globally by causing a sudden change in the demands for raw materials and intermediates used in production. Moreover, in the pandemic, most of the employees had to work from home. Hence, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of global supply chains sustainability (Ketchen & Craighead, 2020; Tasnım, 2020; Ishida, 2020; Frederico, 2021; Baz & Ruel, 2021; Paul et al., 2021).

Sustainability is critical to the long-term success of businesses besides progressively requiring the correlation of not only financial, economic and administrative but also environmental and social impacts of all activities of the organisation. (Zhang, et al, 2021). For this reason, organizations that want to achieve long-term success in supply chain management must attach great importance to sustainability. Through this, they can experience stable progress in the organization lifetime (Ahmed et al., 2019). Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) manages the flow of materials, information, labour and capital throughout a supply chain, as well as the cooperation of companies on the chain. In addition, it is to set and realize financial, economic, environmental and social goals regarding three important points. Competitiveness should be strengthened by combining the economic criteria of sustainability with customer expectations (Seuring and Müller, 2008). In other words, in the SCM process, to boost the long-term economic performance of organisations; the economic, social and environmental objectives of the company should be taken into account while ensuring the integration of important inter-organizational business processes (Carter & Rogers, 2008).

Sustainability has gained more importance with the effect of increasing economic activities. One of the important conditions of being sustainable in supply chain management is knowledge and data integration. To achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, organizations must manage data well, successfully respond to, and manage feedback (Xu et al., 2019; Zhang et al. 2021). In this natural progression, SSCM has become a field of study by authors in recent years. This study was carried out to review the recent developments in sustainable supply chain management literature. Furthermore, it aims to overview the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on SSCM literature. After introducing the background of literature, the methodology is given, the findings from the descriptive and co-citation analyses are discussed in the subsequent sections. Finally, solutions and recommendations, future research directions and conclusion has been presented respectivelly.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is a shared, digital ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.

Innovation: Innovation is a process of development and renovation ideas that improve the way things are done or introducing new techniques, or establish successful ideas to create new value in every movement of organisations.

New Normal: New normal is a situation, which is different from what has been experienced or done before but is expected to become usual or typical.

Risk Management: Risk management is the systematic identification and evaluation of risks at every level with a certain method to achieve the objectives of the organisations, monitoring this process in a way that ensures effective operation.

Green Supply Chain Management: It is the completion of the supply chain by managing all business processes in a way that supports environmental performance, covering all functions of the business (customer relationship management, financial management, marketing, operations, product management, supply chain management, etc.).

Knowledge Management: Knowledge management is a sensitive process of obtaining, structuring, retaining, and distributing the knowledge and using the final form effectively.

Social Responsibility: In a way that will benefit the existing system; it is an effort to carry out all its activities within this understanding by adopting the principle of being sensitive and ethical in social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues.

Sustainability: It is the ability to allow the continuous development of living systems in the natural flow of life by living in harmony with the physical, economic, and social environment uninterruptedly.

Disinformation: Intentionally or unintentionally disseminating false or fabricated information that is inaccurate.

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