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Corporate social sustainability in supply chains: a thematic analysis of the literature

Sodhi, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-2031-4387 & Tang, C. S. (2017). Corporate social sustainability in supply chains: a thematic analysis of the literature. International Journal of Production Research, 56(1-2), pp. 882-901. doi: 10.1080/00207543.2017.1388934


This paper maps out different research strands using thematic analysis on the literature pertaining to large companies’ efforts on social sustainability in their supply chains. The data corpus for this thematic analysis is a broad sample of the literature with articles from different journals and employing different research methodologies. Each of the high-level themes is identified at a level high enough to apply to research into not only social but also economic or environmental sustainability. These eight themes – stakeholder pressure; governance; contingencies; practices; partnerships; barriers and enablers; performance; and optimisation for performance improvement and trade-off – are then woven into a thematic map. We call this map the ‘4P’ model as it suggests that pressure and partnerships influence practices, which in turn impact performance. Researchers can use this thematic classification not only to position their research within the social sustainability literature but also to integrate research on economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Production Research on 19 October 2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: supply chain management, sustainability, sustainable supply chain management, stakeholders, review, thematic analysis, conceptual model, integration
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Accepted Version
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