Complementarities between Operations and Occupational Health and Safety in Garments

Miguel Malek Maalouf*, Peter Hasle, Jan Vang, Abu Hamja


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There is an ongoing debate in the extant literature regarding whether the relationship between occupational health and safety (OHS) and operational practices is contradictory or complementary. However, previous research has focused on companies situated in developed and highly industrialized countries. We contribute to the debate by investigating the relationship between OHS and operational practices in 50 selected garment factories in the context of a developing country (Bangladesh). We investigated OHS and operational practices in a developing country because the institutional context and the industrial tradition are different from those in developed countries, and these factors are very likely to influence how companies invest in enhancing work conditions and improving operational practices. Indeed, the main contribution of this study is that, in contrast to findings from developed countries, our results indicate that both the maturity levels of OHS and operational practices and the complementarity between them depended on plant size. In particular, large plants had higher levels of maturity and were more likely to perform well in both OHS and operational practices than small and medium plants. Based on these findings, we emphasize that, to enhance work conditions and remain competitive, small and medium companies must embrace multi-stakeholder initiatives involving international buyers, local government, and international labor. Organizations can contribute to building the capabilities of suppliers and balance the pressure of cost reduction with investment in OHS improvement
Udgave nummer8
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2021


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