Resource dependencies and the legitimatization of grocery retailer’s social evaluations of suppliers
Publication typeFT ranked journal article
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractMultinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly judged not only on their own social impacts but also on those of their supply chain partners. To reduce this environmental dependence, many MNCs implement social evaluations and codes of conduct which suppliers must follow. But how do MNCs legitimise and implement social evaluations in their supply chains? To address this, we draw on and augment resource dependence and legitimacy theories, to analyse a multinational grocery retailer’s implementation of labour standards for its fruit and vegetable suppliers. The case study utilises interviews, analysis of a database of audits, internal documents, and observational data. It provides the basis for theorizing corporate reputation as a resource dependency, with social evaluations a distinct means to co-opt external actors to preserve the focal organization’s autonomy while reducing environmental contingencies. The legitimacy of social evaluations of supply chain partners depends on processes that reconcile both moral and pragmatic concerns, allowing the focal organization to mitigate resource dependencies without ceding control over enforcement and enabling actions.
Knowledge Domain/IndustryMarketing & Sales