Sustainable development of supplier performance. An empirical analysis of relationship characteristics in the automotive sector

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Sustainability performance of suppliers has become increasingly important for both corporate practice and research. While the importance of relationships between the focal company and its suppliers has been acknowledged for improving sustainability performance of suppliers, little is known about the role of relation specific factors in practice. This research fills this gap by empirically analyzing the relevance of relationspecific factors for the sustainability performance of suppliers based on a unique data set of 736 first-tier suppliers of a German original equipment manufacturer in the automotive industry. The analysis reveals that the sustainability performance of suppliers relates positively to transaction volume and relationship length as specific forms of relation specific characteristics as well as strategic partnership as a proxy of incentivized, in-depth cooperation and knowledge exchange. Each of the investigated relation-specific characteristics show a link with either environmental or with social performance. Conclusions are drawn for research and management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1753-1769
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.