Forms of Interaction in Sustainable Supply Chain Management: An Analysis of Organisational Spheres

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This framework paper aims to outline and discuss how a company can interact with its stakeholders to facilitate the creation of sustainable supply chains. Based on research and rooted in literature on corporate sustainability, supply chain management and its intersection, a conceptual framework is developed to analyse four spheres of interaction in sustainable supply chain management (SSCM). First, the inter-organisational sphere refers to how a focal company can
interact with its so-called primary supply chain stakeholders (i.e. suppliers at the supply side and customers at the demand side). Second, the intra-organisational level describes the interaction between functional units that constitute the company’s internal supply chain such as purchasing, manufacturing and sales, which is discussed with regard to SSCM. Third, the suborganisational interaction is also located within the company, but it focuses on supplementary functional units, such as the sustainability or accounting department, that support the supply
chain. Finally, the supra-organisational sphere provides insights about how a focal company can interact with secondary supply chain stakeholders, external to the company (also understood as non-traditional chain members) such as NGOs and universities to contribute to SSCM. This paper does not merely study the different spheres of interaction, but also discusses the interaction of the spheres from a theoretical and practical point of view. Essentially, one aspect highlighted in the paper is that SSCM asks for advanced forms of interaction to address the multifaceted environmental, social and economic challenges companies are facing nowadays. Thereby, further insights into risk and opportunity-oriented approaches of companies to SSCM are provided.
Translated title of the contributionFormen der Interaktion in Sustainable Supply Chain Management: Eine Analyse organisationaler Sphären
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLüneburg
Number of pages207
Publication statusPublished - 2014