26.01.2016 - 14:06:53
Visit and Presentation - Prof. Wilhelm
The IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies is pleased to announce that Miriam Wilhelm is going to visit the IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies.
Sustainability in multi-tier suppy chains: Understanding the "double agency" role of the first-tier supplie
(To be published in the Journal of Operations Management, January 2016, Link: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1SDi3~0GF0KaJ)
Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 14:00–15:30 h
Venue: Building SG, Room SG 183, Geibelstraße 41, Duisburg
In her recent publication (together with colleagues) Wilhelm investigates supply chains in different institutional settings (i.e. the agricultural industry in Europe, tea production in Kenya, and consumer electronics in China) and analyzes the effect of different institutional pressures for sustainability on the likelihood that suppliers with perform a "doubly agency" role. Double agency implies that suppliers not only comply substantially with their European customer's sustainability requirements in their own operations, but also act as a disseminator for sustainability standards and practices for sub-suppliers.
In light of the growing complexity of globally dispersed, multi-tier supply chains, the involvement of first-tier suppliers has become instrumental in the quest for achieving sustainability compliance along the supply chain. We describe this new responsibility as the "double agency" role. We employ agency and institutional theory arguments to explore the conditions under which first-tier suppliers will act as agents toward fulfilling the lead firm’s sustainability requirements (i.e., the primary agency role) as well as towards implementing these requirements in their suppliers’ operations (i.e., the secondary agency role). Findings from three in-depth case studies embedded in different institutional contexts highlight the importance for lead firms to incentivize each agency role separately and to reduce information asymmetries, particularly with the second-tier level. In addition, our inductive analysis reveals several contingency factors that influence coupling of the secondary agency role of the first-tier supplier. These include resource availability at the first-tier supplier’s firm, the lead firm’s focus on triple bottom line dimension (i.e., environmental and social), the lead firm’s use of power, and the lead firm’s internal alignment of the sustainability and purchasing function. We integrate our findings in a conceptual framework that advances the research agenda on multi-tier sustainable supply chains, and we subsequently outline the practical implications of assigning the double agency role to first-tier suppliers.