June 8, 2022
Dissertation Title: The Resource Based Enablers and Performance Related Consequences of Social Sustainability in Supply Chains of Developing Countries
Presented by: Syeda Ayesha Wadood, PhD Management Candidate
The Defence can be attended online via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 990 3775 1306
Dissertation Defence Committee
Dr. Muhammad Shakeel Sadiq Jajja – Supervisor and Chair
Dr. Kamran Ali Chatha – Co-Supervisor
Dr. Raja Usman Khalid - Member SDSB
Dr. Muhammad Abdur Rahman Malik ‐ Member SDSB
Dr. Hassan Mohy-ud-Din – Member LUMS
Dr. Shujaat Mubarik – External Examiner (Institute of Business Management, Karachi)
Recent attention on social sustainability by both industry and academia alike has led organisations worldwide to focus their efforts on understanding the enablers and consequences of making sustainability a part of their operations, in the quest of protecting their corporate reputation and ensuring economic returns. To this end, this dissertation aims to contribute towards developing an understanding of the resource- and capability-based enablers as well as consequences of social sustainability, especially in the developing countries. To fulfil its aim, this dissertation is based on three independent, yet complementing research papers that make chapters two, three and four of the dissertation respectively.
Chapter two aims to understand how firms in developing economies acquire knowledge about social sustainability by leveraging the social capital embedded in their social network, through optimally governing relationships with their network members. It draws from the transaction cost economics and social capital theories to propose that relational and contractual governance mechanisms interact with various structural facets (network size, network range, and strength of ties) of the network, resulting in varying degrees of social sustainability related knowledge acquisition. The findings support that both relational and contractual governance enable social sustainability by positively affecting knowledge acquisition regarding it, and that the optimal network governance strategy for maximal knowledge acquisition is contingent on the underlying network structure.
Chapter three draws from the social exchange and social identity theories to propose that the relationship between socially responsible altruistic practices and stakeholder-level performance outcomes is mediated by stakeholder social satisfaction. Results of this study confirm that when the firm engages in socially responsible practices (SRPs) directed towards its key stakeholders (employees, suppliers, and customers), their satisfaction increases, which has a subsequent positive impact on employee performance, supplier performance and customer loyalty, respectively. Both chapters two and three use primary data collected with a multiple respondent survey design from 204 manufacturing firms located in major industrial cities in Pakistan, to test their hypotheses. Chapter two uses confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) followed by hierarchical regression analysis to test the hypotheses, whereas chapter three uses CFA followed by regression analysis to test the hypotheses.
Finally, Chapter four of the dissertation draws on the systems’ perspective to study the individual and combined interaction effect of sustainability and lean management on the organisation's triple bottom line (TBL) performance. In doing so the chapter empirically verifies how lean management can serve as a unique capability based enabler of sustainability management, laying the foundation for and aiding the implementation of sustainability management. The study employs structural equation modelling to test the proposed hypotheses using data from the sixth version of the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS VI). Findings from chapter four confirm that lean management is positively related to all dimensions of the TBL whereas sustainability management is positively related to social and environmental performance and negatively related to economic performance. The findings also support a positive interaction effect between the lean and sustainability paradigms, confirming that they are mutually compatible and reinforcing.
The contributions of this dissertation to existing literature are also manifold. Extant literature lacks information on the network level resource-based enablers of social sustainability and related knowledge acquisition, especially in the developing countries’ context. In contrast, this dissertation makes a unique contribution to literature by empirically verifying that the effectiveness of network governance mechanisms is contingent on the network structure and by also prescribing optimal governance strategies for different combinations of network structure variables. The extant literature is also inconsistent regarding the relationship between social responsibility and performance because of the different definitions and measures of social responsibility across studies, the omission of intervening variables, the use of firm-level proxy measures to assess stakeholder-level effects, and not accounting for the difference in perspectives across developed and developing countries. To this end, this dissertation takes the operations management perspective towards SRPs and studies stakeholder social satisfaction as a unique intervening variable, mediating the effect between SRPs directed at stakeholders, and stakeholder level performance, in a developing country context. Finally, in contrast with the extant literature, this dissertation proposes that lean and sustainability management make parts of one system as opposed to one correlated with or having a positive causal effect on the other. Taking an integrated systems approach, it empirically verifies the "mutual compatibility" of the lean and sustainability paradigms argument, with regards to their effect on the TBL performance. It further verifies lean as a capability based enabler of sustainability, aiding the implementation of sustainability management and making its effect on TBL more pronounced.
The dissertation offers several practical implications. Firstly, the dissertation suggests that practitioners owning resource constrained SMEs should interact with their network of firms to leverage the resources and social capital embedded within, for competitive advantage and improved sustainable performance. The findings also suggest optimal governance strategies for different combinations of network structure variables, to gain maximum knowledge about social sustainability. Secondly, the dissertation recommends that practitioners should invest in implementing altruistic SRPs since these benefit the firm in terms of improved social satisfaction and subsequent performance and the loyalty of the firm’s key stakeholders, the clarification that implementing SRPs can result in a win–win situation for all stakeholders will help convince shareholders to invest more in social responsibility. Finally, the dissertation recommends that practitioners pursuing both lean and sustainability practices should leverage their mutual positive effects and balance the unintended effects of implementing isolated bundles of practices by implementing them together, as a complete socio-technical system. In today’s world when firm owners and managers do not have the option to choose one over the other, it is important for them to realize that developing one could help adopt the other.