تأمین تجهیزات پایدار: مشروعیت ساخت و ساز در شبکه تامین
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Volume 18, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 207–217
The challenges introduced by sustainable development deeply affect purchasing and supply management practices and therefore foster a change in the firm's supply network. After a literature review on supply network management, sustainable sourcing and legitimacy, this paper presents the results of an in-depth case study of a gardening distributor which adopted a sustainable strategy. The analysis illustrates how the firm conquers its legitimacy in sustainable development through the evolution of its supply network. The paper highlights three types of legitimacy – product legitimacy, corporate legitimacy and cause legitimacy – and reveals the different roles of business and non-business actors in the firm's extended sustainable supply network.
Based on the Brundtland Commission's first definition, sustainable development is defined as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” ( WECD, 1987: 8). In the field of business, it requires the conciliation of profit objectives; respect for the environment and the satisfaction of all the firm's stakeholders i.e. the actors affected by the activities of the organization—customers, employees, suppliers, subcontractors and the local community ( Freeman, 1984). The pressure exerted by the general public and by customers ( KlostermanPlease check the subtitle in Ref. (Klosterman and Cramer, 2006). and Cramer, 2006 and Campbell, 2007), the new government regulations and legislation ( Boiral, 2006) as well as the desire to gain a competitive advantage drive firms to position themselves towards social and environmental stakes ( Walke et al., 2008) in an effort to improve their image and to gain increased legitimacy ( Schrivastava, 1995). Apart from these external drivers, two main internal factors push firms to implement green supply practices: the personal commitment of managers and investors and the desire to reduce costs by minimizing waste and pollution ( Walker et al., 2008). In this context, De Burgos Jimenez and Cespedes Lorente (2001) suggest adding sustainable development to the firm's competitive priorities. As mentioned by Savitz and Weber (2006:14): “sustainability is now a fundamental principle of smart management”. The purchasing function plays a strategic role in helping a firm reach its sustainable development objectives as acknowledged by an increasing body of research and publications on sustainable procurement (Walker and Phillips, 2009). As mentioned by Krause et al. (2009: p. 18), a company “is no more sustainable than its supply chain”. A recent study carried out by Ernst and Young ( Saviac et al., 2010) based on the interviews of 100 major companies highlights the central role of the purchasing function in the integration of sustainable development principles across all the firm's functions. Similarly, a study carried out by Orse and Ecovadis ( Daudin and Kadjar, 2010) with 125 international companies reveals that 64% of the firms interviewed rank sustainable procurement as a strategic priority in their global responsible and sustainable strategy. The choice of suppliers appears critical in the implementation of a sustainable sourcing strategy as new supply chains and new coordination modes with suppliers are required to develop innovative solutions. In most sectors, the integration of sustainable development stakes thus calls for a deep change of practice in the supply chain and fosters a change in the firm's supply network ( Pagell et al., 2010). This is not an easy process as the implementation of sustainable procurement raises new risks and practical paradoxes (Carter and Rogers, 2008). As a consequence, not all firms respond similarly to the need for sustainable development. Several strategies can be identified (Handfield et al., 1997) ranging from green washing practices to more in-depth practices based on stronger convictions and values (Greer and Bruno, 1996). This paper focuses on this second type of authentic strategy and raises the central issue of legitimacy. In spite of an increasing amount of research work and articles, there is still a strong need to empirically study the implications of the integration of such a strategy on the firm's practices and supply network (Carter and Rogers, 2008). Using the theoretical framework of supply networks developed by the IMP School of Thought (Gadde and Håkansson, 2001), this paper aims at understanding how a firm developing a sustainable development strategy manages to build its legitimacy in this field through its procurement strategy and practices. It highlights the relevance of the network approach of sustainable purchasing integrating not only direct and indirect suppliers in the firm's value creation processes but also “non-business actors” (Hadjikhani and Thilenius, 2005) such as labeling organizations, technical experts, ecological foundations, the government, the media, as well as standardization and regulatory agencies. Developing cooperative ties with these non-business actors comes across as a key success factor to develop the firm's resources and legitimacy in sustainable development. The paper suggests analyzing this strategic legitimating process (Sine et al., 2007) at three levels: the technical level (offer legitimacy), the firm level (corporate legitimacy) and the societal level (cause legitimacy). It concludes on the evolution of the purchaser's role in the context of sustainability, which might increasingly involve identifying and engaging with these new stakeholders. This paper is structured as follows: presentation of the conceptual framework based on the existing literature, methodology, presentation of the case study, case findings, discussion and concluding comments informing a future research agenda.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our paper has shown how Botanic's change of positioning towards sustainable development was dependent upon its relationships with other actors in the sustainable development milieu and in particular with non-business actors. Different types of non-business actors have been identified as influencing the firm's sustainable activities and legitimacy in the field: labeling organizations, technical experts, ecological foundations, the government, the media, as well as standardization and regulatory agencies. While business actors mostly gave Botanic access to tangible resources (products), developing relationships with these non-business actors mostly enabled Botanic to access their intangible resources namely, their technical expertise, their network of relationships and their legitimacy. Through their resources and activities, these supply network actors qualified the authenticity of Botanic's commitment to sustainable development. It modified Botanic's position and strategic identity (Mattsson, 1984) giving credibility to its sustainable development claim. This legitimating process (Sine et al., 2007) occured at three levels: the product level (offer legitimacy), the firm level (corporate legitimacy) and the societal level (cause legitimacy). The success of the distributor's sustainable strategy thus clearly depended on this extended network of non-business actors. But inversely some of these non-business actors also depended on Botanic in particular for those which were barely emerging and which fully benefited from Botanic's resources. Our paper thus confirms the relevance of the network approach of purchasing integrating suppliers in the firm's value creation processes (Krause et al., 2009) but extends this notion to a whole set of new non-business actors that seems particularly relevant in the field sustainable procurement. Concerning the posture of the relationship with suppliers, our papers confirms that the integration of sustainable development into the firm's purchasing strategies fosters a change towards more partnerships and joint value creation methodologies with selected actors in this renewed supply network (Hartman et al., 1999 and Carter and Carter, 1998). Faced with the high heterogeneity and lack of stability of sustainable supply chains, cooperation came across as the most adapted mode of coordination with these actors (Richardson, 1972). This only concerned a limited number of actors (Gadde and Håkansson, 2001): the distributor did not hesitate to enter into more classical forms of transactions with suppliers whenever the market offered an acceptable, standardized answer (choosing a labeled product for example). Our research also suggests that it seems difficult to adopt a high level of sustainability ‘alone’ when the rest of the supply chain and network in which the firm is embedded has not yet made significant steps in that direction. The implementation of a sustainable development strategy therefore seems constrained by the right “time-to-market” and should best evolve with the level of maturity of the market. As mentioned by Pagell et al. (2010), a transitory period seems required not only at the firm level but also at the supply network level to enable corresponding suppliers to develop the appropriate products and modify their sourcing practices. Finally, the case also supports preliminary findings stating the crucial role of top management support to commit the firm to such a sustainable development venture. Moving from traditional purchasing practices to adopt a new “organizational worldview of purchasing” (Bakker and Kamman, 2007: p. 306) based on sustainable criteria requires a lot of investments (commitment) and to accept to take risks in an uncertain environment. The support of top management, representing the highest social hierarchy in the organization, gives them the power to influence procurement practices (Schrivastava, 1995). In our case, the individual perception of the top manager regarding sustainable development (his authentic conviction) strongly influenced Botanic's positioning strategy and effective change of position through the evolution of their supply network. This echoes and confirms the findings of Bakker and Kamann (2007) indicating that three social factors are relevant to understand how suppliers relations are managed in practice: the trajectory of the individual (purchaser), the organizational worldview of purchasing and the individual's social position in the organization. In terms of managerial implications, these findings have direct consequences on the purchasing function. Firstly, our paper has illustrated the range of difficulties that pushed buyers to modify their purchasing process (Handfield et al., 2002) such as the lack of reliable and comparable data on the various supply chains and products; the lack of expertise in sustainable development in a rapidly changing environment requiring to constantly renew one's knowledge and information; the shortage of offers meeting Botanic's sustainable development requirements and recognized as such by established labels; the lack of stability of product offers and labels; and finally ethical dilemmas that go beyond the strict scope of their domain of responsibilities. Secondly, to cope with these difficulties, purchasers increasingly need to interact more widely and profoundly with suppliers (Dubois and Pedersen, 2002) as well as with individual experts and non-profit-making organizations which play a key role in the sustainable supply network. Hence, the purchaser's role might increasingly involve identifying and engaging stakeholders situated on the fringe of their usual supply network so as to ‘bridge’ with their resources and legitimacy. Cooperating with non-business actors requires different relational patterns from those with “traditional suppliers” (Hadjikhani and Thilenius, 2005). As illustrated in our case study, the interaction with these new stakeholders having different missions, values and habits involved several adaptations and required time to learn to interact, build trust and make the necessary adjustments (increased commitment). In sum, a more entrepreneurial mode of sourcing thus seems to be required in such a rapidly changing environment. Purchasers need to develop new processes and dynamic capabilities (Helfat, 1997 and Teece, 2007) to evolve towards a true Sustainable Supply Chain Management.