Managing product returns to achieve supply chain sustainability: an exploratory study and research propositions

Mohd Rizaimy Shaharudin, Kannan Govindan, Suhaiza Zailani*, Keah Choon Tan

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Abstract The aim of this article is to develop research propositions for product returns management using the Institutional Theory (INT) as the foundation for the study. The paper culminates with a research model based on this theoretical perspective to examine the input and output of product returns management as part of a comprehensive sustainability effort. The study is exploratory in nature based on five case studies of participating manufacturers in the automotive, and electrical and electronics industry in Malaysia. The interview results reveal that the five participating companies established a product returns management program to handle three types of product returns found in their organizations. This is not surprising because successful product returns management has a number of internal and external benefits to the firms. Our interviews also uncover that the abundant amount of product returns is pressing these companies to implement an effective product returns management program. Based on the primary and secondary data collected in this study, three propositions are developed for future research, which should be tested with a large empirical data set to strengthen the theoretical contributions and managerial implications of this study.

TidsskriftJournal of Cleaner Production
Udgave nummerAugust
Sider (fra-til)1-15
StatusUdgivet - 15. aug. 2015


  • Customer returns
  • Distribution returns
  • Manufacturing returns
  • Product recovery
  • Product returns

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