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The role of fairness in multi-tier sustainable supply chains

Lookup NU author(s): Ade Oyedijo, Professor Ying YangORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Fairness is an important topic that forms part of an organization’s sustainability practice and agenda, particularly from a social dimension. However, past studies have rarely considered the role of fairness as a driver of sustainability in multi-tier supply chains. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it examines the impact of fairness perceptions on the relationship between multi-tier supply chain partners. Second, it investigates the dynamics of on-going fairness formations in different stages of the vibrant multi-tier supply chain relationship development process. These gaps have been addressed by reporting the findings of a qualitative research. Primary data was obtained from 18 procurement and supply practitioners of buying firms and their top tier-1 & 2 suppliers. Findings show that fairness perceptions have an impact on collaborative activities between multi-tier supply chain partners. These collaborative responses such as information sharing, joint relationship effort, and dedicated investment can also impact critical aspects of the multi-tier supply chain relationship such as trust, commitment, satisfaction, and conflict resolution. The findings show that multi-tier supply chain partners have different expectations but usually evaluate fairness at the review phase of the relationship development process. These considerations offer theoretical and practical guidance towards the advancement of sustainable multi-tier supply chain relationships.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oyedijo A, Yang Y, Koukpaki ASF, Mishra N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Production Research

Year: 2021

Volume: 61

Issue: 14

Pages: 4893-4917

Online publication date: 26/05/2021

Acceptance date: 02/05/2021

Date deposited: 07/05/2021

ISSN (print): 0020-7543

ISSN (electronic): 1366-588X

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/00207543.2021.1928319


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