Understanding factors affecting supply chain social sustainability practices and SMEs' sustainability performance
AuthorsDenu, Mathias Kofi Worlanyo
supply chain social sustainability
social sustainability performance
emerging African economies
Subject Categories::N120 International Business studies
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AbstractResearch on the social dimension of supply chain sustainability has grown in recent years. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector are now being driven by the social requirements of stakeholders on issues such as human rights, ethnicity and inequality, ethics, community, employees and poverty alleviation. However, researchers have mainly concentrated their efforts on large organisations handling social issues in the supply chain. Research on how small businesses manage social sustainability issues and sustainability performance is still rare, especially in emerging African economies. Drawing on both legitimate theory and stakeholder theory, this research aims to: a) understand factors affecting supply chain social sustainability (SCSS) practices and SMEs’ sustainability performance in emerging African economies, b) develop and validate multidimensional measures to evaluate focal SMEs’ social sustainability performance (SSP) of emerging African economies, and c) develop a model to examine the effects of stakeholder pressures (SP) and social responsibility standards (SRS) on an SME’s sustainability performance and investigate the mediating effects of SCSS practices. The study adopts a mixed research methodology. Firstly, the research performed a structured literature review evaluating 85 studies investigating social sustainability practices in the supply chain. Secondly, semi-structured interviews were conducted with five SME managers to explore the adoption of SCSS practices in SMEs in Ghana. Lastly, the findings informed the survey questionnaire design for quantitative data collection for the study. The relationships between the constructs generated for this study were tested and validated by analysing 375 questionnaires collected from 100 focal manufacturing SMEs. The analysis includes respondent background information, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, a conceptual model test using SPSS to prepare the data, and AMOS version 23.0 to test the proposed model. The research findings indicate that SRS and SP significantly affect SCSS practices in focal manufacturing SMEs. Similarly, adopting SRS improves the SSP of focal SMEs. However, economic sustainability performance (ESP) only improved after the study introduced an indirect variable of SCSS practices. The findings also suggest that SP does not necessarily lead to the sustainability performance of focal SMEs but only through an indirect variable of SCSS practices. Likewise, SCSS practices significantly improve the sustainability performance of focal SMEs. Also, the SSP of focal SMEs improves ESP in the emerging African economy. The research adds to existing knowledge from a different perspective. Firstly, the study contributes to the literature by proposing, testing and validating 23 measures across six significant dimensions to accurately evaluate the focal firm’s SSP in emerging African economies. This study identifies two vital new measuring indicators – 1) poverty alleviation and 2) ethnicity and inequality – in addition to the relevant indicators reported in the literature. Secondly, the study provides a new empirical model for focal SMEs based on stakeholder and legitimacy theories. This study contributes to the social sustainability literature, as the model measures the effects of SRS, SP and SCSS practices on a focal SME’s sustainability performance (social and economic) after testing and validation. The study also uncovered the mediating effect of focal SMEs’ SSP on the link between SRS and focal SMEs’ ESP.
CitationDenu, M. (2022) 'Understanding Factors Affecting Supply Chain Social Sustainability Practices and SMEs' Sustainability Performance'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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