Sustainable Supply Chain: An Institutional Perspective

Sustainable Supply Chain: An Institutional Perspective

Susheela Girisaballa (Symbiosis International University, India) and Sonali Bhattacharya (Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Symbiosis International University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0945-6.ch004


Sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) is an evolving discipline, for which many theories are being proposed. It is dependent on other disciplines, of which organizational theories are of tremendous importance. One such theory that has great relevance to SSCM is Institutional Theory. The purpose of this study is to develop a model that relates the enablers of SSCM to Institutional Theory. This is achieved in three steps: First, SSCM enablers were identified through a literature review. These internal enablers go through certain external challenges when supply chain players practice Sustainability. Second, an attempt is made to explain these challenges from the perspective of Institutional Theory. The role of Institutional Isomorphism in regulating and creating a direction for achieving the sustainability goal is identified. Finally, a theoretical model is developed to describe the link between supply chain players, institutional isomorphism, and the support and participation of the top management in creating an enabling environment for legitimization of sustainable supply chain.
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The available literature on applications of Organizational Theories to SSCM suggests that this area is still in its nascent stage, with several theories being put forward to explain SSCM (Sarkis et al., 2011). Although the relevance of institutional theory to SSCM has been mentioned briefly (Seuring et al., 2008, Sarkis et al., 2011, Glover et al., 2014). Earlier research on GSCM seeks to provide solutions to the environmental dimension of sustainability, and the research carried out on corporate social responsibility (CSR) provides answers to the social dimension of a more holistic concept of sustainability. Therefore, literature is also reviewed from other related areas such as GSCM (Zhu et al., 2013), CSR (Huq et al., 2013), and relevance of Institutional theories in other disciplines. An attempt is made to understand and relate the enablers of SSCM to external Institutional pressures.

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