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Sustainable supply chain management: a case study of a sustainable chocolate supply chain network

Mc Loughlin, Kate (2018) Sustainable supply chain management: a case study of a sustainable chocolate supply chain network. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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The purpose of this thesis was to understand how sustainable supply chain management processes are managed in practice given the variations in sustainability principles. The Global Supply Chain Forum’s Supply Chain Management Framework was used to focus the study by examining how its elements (network structure, management component and business processes) interact with sustainability. There is evidence of a paradigm shift as evidenced in how the two concepts of sustainability and SCM merge. This justified the framework’s elements being re-examined in the context of sustainability to understand how the elements change. However, there is no body of research that examines processes unique to SSCM. Furthermore, knowing how to manage these in practice, required an understanding of why and how different stakeholders behave. This needed a network view of multiple stakeholders, but limited research exists on end-to-end supply chain networks. Moreover, there is limited research on the management of diverse sustainability principles and the coordination of multiple stakeholders engaged in these. A single explanatory case study of a network and its nodes was selected as a method to explain how stakeholders behave through the proximity of network determinants. Two units of analysis (the network and the organisation) were used to examine organisational orientation and stakeholder network theory. This resulted in theoretical propositions and conceptual framework that explained a spectrum of sustainability principles, a model of sustainability business processes and phases of management, and archetypes of practice and complimentary typologies. The main contributions of the research were twofold: It mapped and modelled an end-to-end supply chain network and provided a SSCM framework. In doing so, it built theory by offering a model of key business processes in SSCM, taxonomic classes of SSCM practices, eco-centric theory, pre-competitive collaboration, concurrence, and leveraging interorganisational clusters to manipulate sustainability principles.

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