Coordinating multi-level collective action: How intermediaries and digital governance can help supply chains tackle grand challenges

Eugenia Rosca, Wendy Tate*, Lydia Bals, Feigao Huang, Francesca Ciulli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose
Driven by increasing concerns for sustainable development and digitalization, intermediaries have emerged as relevant actors who can help supply chains tackle grand societal challenges. They can also trigger significant changes in structure, shape and governance models of supply chains. The goal of this research is to advance the understanding of supply chain intermediation and digital governance as coordinating mechanisms for enabling multi-level collective action to address the world's grand challenges.

Design/methodology/approach
This is a conceptual research paper that uses a vignette approach, where real examples are described to help question and expand theoretical insights and provide a basis for future research. The examples are drawn from past and ongoing extensive primary and secondary data collection efforts in diverse types of supply chains.

Findings
Three contexts are proposed to illustrate how intermediaries and digital governance can play a key role in helping supply chains tackle grand challenges. The first and second context highlight the differences between material and support flow intermediaries in a triadic supply chain relationship. The third context illustrates intermediation within a multi-level network which can be industry-specific or span across industries. The three contexts are evaluated on the level of intervention, the focus on material or support flows, and traditional or digital governance. The specific Sustainable Development Goals which can be tackled through intermediary intervention are also indicated.

Originality/value
Intermediaries are often hidden actors in global supply chains and have received limited attention in the academic literature. The conceptual foundation provided in this manuscript serves as the basis for future research opportunities. Three main avenues for further research in this domain are proposed: (1) novel forms of intermediation beyond economic and transactional arrangements; (2) novel forms of digital governance; and (3) translating multi-level collective action into sustainable development outcomes. Research on intermediation driven by sustainable development and digitalization trends can spur empirical advances in sustainable supply chain and operations management with important societal impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1937-1968
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Volume42
Issue number12
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • BASE
  • BUSINESSES
  • CAPABILITIES
  • Digital governance
  • IMPACT
  • INFRASTRUCTURES
  • Intermediaries
  • NETWORKS
  • RELATIONAL GOVERNANCE
  • RESOURCE COMPLEMENTARITY
  • SIDED PLATFORMS
  • SUSTAINABILITY
  • Sustainability

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Coordinating multi-level collective action: How intermediaries and digital governance can help supply chains tackle grand challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this