Sustainable supply chain clusters: an integrated framework

Barakat, Mahmoud Ramadan; Tipi, Nicoleta and Wu, Jialin Snow (2023). Sustainable supply chain clusters: an integrated framework. Management Decision, 61(3) pp. 786–814.



Purpose: This research aims to provide a conceptual framework with the scope to assist in establishing sustainable supply chain clusters (SCC) by providing an instrument for organisations to enhance the three sustainability dimensions in a dynamic environment.

Design/methodology/approach: This research proposes a conceptual framework to enhance sustainability and organisational performance through three theoretical lenses: systems theory, extended resource-based view and dynamic capabilities theory. This approach is carried out through a comprehensive review of the existing literature on SCCs.

Findings: Four main propositions are formulated and demonstrated using the developed framework, which expands the discussion about SCCs and their key characteristics in a dynamic environment. This is particularly relevant as it allows empirical testing of the theories in a SCC context.

Research implications: It can be noted that more extensive research is needed to further understand the issues faced in establishing sustainable clusters. Drawing on the theoretical lenses to establish the framework helps to enhance the understanding and operational capabilities of sustainable SCCs during and after disruptions, such as the global disruption created by COVID-19.

Practical implications: This research paves the way to help organisations improve their adaptability to the dynamic business environment by emphasizing the importance of clustering and linking it to sustainability through dynamic capabilities (DC) to establish a sustainable cluster.

Originality/value: This research aims to guide organisations’ use of SCCs as tools to enhance sustainability in a dynamic environment, given that the relationship among supply chain cluster design characteristics (SCCDCs), DCs and sustainability remains unexplored. The combination of the three theoretical lenses in developing the proposed framework will assist in further understanding the applicability of these theories when they are considered together.

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