Sustainable business growth in SMEs: How may decision-making guide the transition journey?
2014-6-23, Schwab, Leila, Gold, Stefan, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
The research aims at (1) exploring new theory at the interface of business growth and sustainable development while (2) providing managerial implications for growing firms. For this end, we propose typologies of decisions to be considered by growing firms; by means of a longitudinal case study of a Swiss family-owned SME wood construction company (that is in a process of intense growth), we identify, visually represent and analyze the sequences of selected managerial decisions. The empirical analysis and theory development pave novel ways for research and companies towards sustainable business growth.
Managing international agrifood supply chains - Pathways towards a sustainable paradigm
2012-6-8, Gold, Stefan, Kunz, Nathan, Akwen, Patience, Reiner, Gerald
Drawing on academic literature concerning supply chain management and, more specifically, (global) agrifood chains, the extant paper proposes a conceptualization of factors of supply chain design and operations as well as effective governance mechanisms that facilitate holistic performance of agrifood supply chains. Furthermore, tradeoffs that probably emerge when aiming at comprehensive multi-dimensional performance are attributed to different supply chain strategy types. Asking why businesses and supply chains still postpone integration of sustainability and other non-financial performance measures into global agrifood supply chains, we point out that these measures represent in fact credence attributes not to be verified by the (final) consumer. This implies the propensity of businesses to engage both in hidden action concerning actual supply chain/operations management and conspicuous public relations. From these considerations we derive some research propositions to be tested in follow-up empirical and modeling/simulation research on global food supply chains.
The ambivalent role of governments in humanitarian supply chains
2012-2-24, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald, Grubbström, Robert, Hinterhuber, Hans
Humanitarian supply chains aim to deliver food and medicines to victims of natural or man-made disasters. Through a multiple case study research among four Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), we analyze the impact of import barriers imposed by governments on humanitarian supply chains. We find that, in the short term, import barriers have negative impacts on the performance of humanitarian logistics operations, and in the end, on beneficiaries, because they can create important delays and additional costs. However, we also find that in the long term, these barriers can have positive effects on the sustainability of humanitarian aid and the country’s economy, as they encourage NGOs to increase their local sourcing.
What are tradeoffs and obstacles towards a comprehensive framework of supply chain performance in global food chains?
2012-5-3, Gold, Stefan, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
Purpose The paper investigates why business still postpones integration of sustainability and other non-financial performance measures into global agrifood supply chains. Design/methodology/approach On basis of literature-based conceptual reasoning (“disciplined imagination”), we identify tradeoffs that are prevalent in basic agrifood supply chain strategy types (efficient, risk-hedging, responsive, and agile chains) and tradeoffs that additionally emerge when agrifood chains simultaneously strive for sustainability. Further, we conceptualize one major obstacle for businesses pursuing comprehensive supply chain performance in global agrifood chains, which helps explaining why agrifood chains procrastinate the integration of sustainability into their business activities. Findings First, we develop a variety of research propositions about performance trade-offs that appear when agrifood chains follow different supply chain strategy types. Second, we point out that many supply chain performance attributes represent in fact credence attributes not to be verified by the (final) consumer. Rational business responses to this situation tend to optimize publicity efforts by sustainability reports and other brand-enhancing marketing tools that are often and easily decoupled from real efforts of operations and supply chain improvements. Research limitations/implications The research propositions are to be tested in follow-up empirical and modeling/simulation research on global food supply chains. Originality/value The conceptual considerations presented in the paper serve as basis for managers and academics to develop innovative inter- and intra-organizational business processes that reconcile tradeoffs pushing the performance frontier outwards and that overcome hurdles towards sustainability that are inherent in current food production, processing, retailing and consumption/shopping practices.
Government restrictions on relief supply chains
2013-6-11, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
Response to catastrophic disasters often requires external assistance from international relief organizations. Literature and empirical evidence show that governments do not always welcome this assistance. Based on a multiple case study conducted among four relief organizations, we identify governmental restrictions imposed on humanitarian relief supply chains in different countries. We analyze the dependency between government characteristic and the level of restrictions. We find that the more fragile a government is, the more restrictions it imposes on relief organizations. This knowledge helps relief organizations to prepare adequately before entering a new country, by anticipating concerns and establishing trust with the government.