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Power and Diffusion of Sustainability in Supply Networks: Findings from Four In-Depth Case Studies

Abstract : This paper investigates how coercive and non-coercive power impacts on the successful diffusion of sustainability within supply networks. The paper reports on four in-depth case studies of the development of sustainability initiatives, each case based on data collection from focal companies and suppliers. The four case studies are based on 38 semi-structured interviews in total and supported by secondary data. The case studies indicate that both coercive and non-coercive power impact suppliers’ engagement in sustainability initiatives and its wider diffusion in supply networks. However, where the use of coercive power facilitates diffusion to immediate suppliers, the use of non-coercive (reward and expert) power leads to sustainability diffusion beyond the dyadic level into wider supply networks. The study provides rich insights into understanding sustainability diffusion in supply networks and the perceptions of multiple supply network actors on the role of different types of power on the diffusion process. We elaborate existing theory and formulate propositions to guide future research into the role and coexistence of different types of power in diffusing sustainability in supply networks.
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https://hal-rennes-sb.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02421308
Contributor : Steven Gouin <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 20, 2019 - 1:31:27 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, December 21, 2019 - 1:41:27 AM

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Osama Meqdadi, Thomas Johnsen, Rhona Johnsen. Power and Diffusion of Sustainability in Supply Networks: Findings from Four In-Depth Case Studies. Journal of Business Ethics, Springer Verlag, 2019, 159 (4), pp.1089-1110. ⟨10.1007/s10551-018-3835-0⟩. ⟨hal-02421308⟩

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