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Development supply chains for solar lanterns and solar home systems in low-income countries

Knuckles, J. (2019). Development supply chains for solar lanterns and solar home systems in low-income countries. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis is comprised of three separate but interrelated papers. Their common thread is an investigation of development supply chains and the organizations that participate in them.

In the first paper (Chapter 1), we conceptualize development supply chains – a type of supply chain for development in a post-disaster context, which is distinct from commercial and humanitarian supply chains – using the Stakeholder Resource-Based View. This theoretical framework brings into focus the supply chain’s stakeholders, their resources and capabilities, and their respective utility preferences with respect to the supply chain. Conceptualizing development supply chains using this framework helps us to outline descriptive, instrumental, and normative approaches to research not only this type of supply chain but also others.

The second paper (Chapter 2) empirically investigates how development supply chains work, from the donors’ viewpoint. We conducted a multiple case study of development supply chains for solar lanterns and solar home systems sold to low-income consumers in Haiti. Using the Stakeholder Resource-Based View as the theoretical lens, we first identify nine groups of stakeholders and their utility preferences. We then show how social enterprise product companies and in country importers develop specialized resources and capabilities related to the products they sell, the distribution channels they create, and the grants they bring in from donors, that support the flows of material, information, and money along the supply chain. We contribute to the literature with building blocks of new theory about development supply chains.

In the third paper (Chapter 3), we set out to understand how executives of social enterprises that participate in development supply chains develop operations strategies that enable their organizations to pursue social and commercial objectives simultaneously. Using Dunham’s (2010) concept of “practical wisdom” and building on the well-established operations strategy literature, we carefully examined executives’ operations decision-making processes in response to a particular threat or opportunity. We find a one-to-one relationship between the area(s) of operations onto which the executive mapped the perceived threat or opportunity and the area(s) of operations implicated in the operations strategy they developed as a response to the threat or opportunity. Crucially, the executive’s practical wisdom constrained the set of possible responses to the threat or opportunity to those options that would help the organization achieve both social and commercial objectives.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School
Bayes Business School > Management
Bayes Business School > Bayes Business School Doctoral Theses
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