Anne Jensby - 2nd year PhD presentation

Supplier sustainability governance – exploring variations at the level of individual category managers

Info about event


Thursday 22 August 2024,  at 09:00 - 09:45




Department of Management

Supervisors: Chris Ellegaard & Mai Skjøtt Linneberg
Discussants: Ann-Kristina Løkke Møller & Irene Pollach

Assessment and collaboration are the two major supplier governance approaches used to create compliance with buying company sustainability requirements. It is well established that collaborative governance characterized by strong relationships leads to benefits such as the sustainability performance of suppliers while assessment through requirements and auditing has often been found ineffective in managing supplier sustainability. Most of this prior research assumes that firms have a uniformly implemented corporate-level supplier governance framework. We problematize this simplification, as it ignores the variations between different purchasing managers, who are at the center of organizational activity related to responsible sourcing and ultimately responsible for implementing supplier sustainability governance. Managerially, this simplification also becomes a critical issue, as executives may fail to understand if and how corporate-level sustainability strategies are implemented at the micro-level.

We aim to create a detailed understanding of individual-level governance, arguing that these micro-level differentiations are important to understanding how suppliers can become truly sustainable. To achieve this, we conducted a qualitative study of a large northern European home furnishing retailer officially operating with a corporate-level assessment strategy for their 1,500 suppliers. Through in-depth interviewing of key managers in 5 different supply categories, we identified the micro-level details of the implemented governance approach, uncovering possible variety across the categories. We found that the managers operate with different sustainability attitudes, leading to the implementation of different supplier-oriented actions. By mapping these micro-level variations, we contribute to the literature on supplier sustainability governance, specifically the growing stream that seems to understand the nuanced micro-level engagement with suppliers.

Everyone is welcome!