The impact of supply chain network structure on relationship management strategies: An empirical investigation of sustainability practices in retailers
Rezaei Vandchali, H and Cahoon, S and Chen, S-L, The impact of supply chain network structure on relationship management strategies: An empirical investigation of sustainability practices in retailers, Sustainable Production and Consumption, 28 pp. 281-299. ISSN 2352-5509 (2021) [Refereed Article]
The implementation of sustainability practices in today's complex supply chain network (SCN) has been a great challenge for focal firms. To establish a sustainable SCN, understanding is needed about how focal firms' decision-making processes can be affected by the extent to which they are embedded within a wider stakeholder network. Despite the increasing amount of research in sustainable supply chain management (SSCM), the way (why and how) that focal firms and their SCN actors interact in terms of sustainability practices has not been thoroughly explored. This paper investigates the impact of SCN structure on focal firms' relationship management strategies (RMS) and identifies strategies that may be employed to implement sustainability practices throughout the SCN. A web-based survey was undertaken to collect data from a sample of 66 Australian food manufacturers and suppliers within two large retailers' SCNs. The paper's constructs were validated via exploratory factor analysis, and hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted to test the hypotheses. Five factors conceptualising the SCN structure were identified (transparency, power, supplier dependency, buyer dependency, and distance) to determine the impact of the SCN structure on four RMS (non-compliance, transactional, dictatorial, and collaborative). Results show different relationships between each factor and RMS, thereby providing new insights into the implementation of sustainability practices in the SCN. The findings may assist managers to determine a balance in allocating resources to manage sustainability practices within their firms' SCNs. This paper is amongst the few empirical works that examine the impact of SCN structure on RMS in SSCM.