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Pushing or sharing as value-driven strategies for societal change in global supply chains: two case studies in the British-South African fresh fruit supply chain

By C. Müller, W.J.V. Vermeulen and P. Glasbergen


Business strategy is linked to organisational values and culture, which is determined to some extent by national culture. This can provide a challenge in a global supply chain where culture and values at one end of the chain do not correspond with culture at the other end. This paper contends that shared values contribute to effective sustainability changes in supply chains. Two case studies from the South African-British fresh fruit export chain present two contrasting business strategies for achieving socially sustainable practices: (i) a unilateral, prescriptive approach (pushing), mirroring a paternalistic value system, in which a company prescribes norms of socially responsible behaviour at the ground level (the Tesco case) and; (ii) a bilateral, collaborative approach (sharing) in which business and non-governmental organisations work together to improve working conditions (the Waitrose case). Outcomes of these approaches are observed over a 3-year period. It is concluded that within this specific supply chain a shared value approach is a more successful initiative than paternalistic pushing initiatives

Topics: Milieukunde, Milieukunde, supply chain, culture, values, social sustainability, paternalism, Ubuntu
Year: 2012
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