Social sustainability tensions in multi-tier supply chain: A systematic literature review towards conceptual framework development

Kannan Govindan*, Mahesh Shaw, Abhijit Majumdar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

As many unethical practices and violations of social norms originate from higher tier suppliers and their sub-suppliers, it is of paramount importance to ensure social sustainability in the entire supply chain, especially for higher tier suppliers. This has led to a considerable increase in interest among the researchers and academicians working in the domain of social sustainability. This article reviews 129 research papers published in different journals and attempted to identify drivers, issues, barriers, tensions, practices, and performances related to social sustainability in multi-tier supply chains. The prevalent theories and governance mechanisms of social sustainability in multi-tier supply chains have also been presented. The commonly used theories are stakeholder theory, institutional theory, resource based view theory, transaction cost economics theory, grounded theory, and resource dependence theory. It is observed that most of the papers have presented drivers, barriers, issues, and practices in generic ways by conducting exploratory case studies using single case or multiple cases; there is a distinct lack of multi-tier perspectives devoted to the context of emerging economies. The tension, an important aspect of implementation of social sustainability practices, has not been addressed adequately in the extant literature for multi-tier supply chains. This review also proposes a conceptual framework of social sustainability linking drivers, issues, barriers, tensions, practices, and performances. Finally, future avenues of research on social sustainability have been outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123075
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume279
Number of pages22
ISSN0959-6526
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10. Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Literature review
  • Multi-tier supply chain
  • Social performance
  • Social sustainability

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