Project: Research council

Project Details


The project aims to change the way labour rights in supply chains are measured and managed by redirecting the attention to workplace dignity (WD) - a fundamental psychological benchmark - defined as a sense of self-worth derived from workplace interactions. Violation of WD, by practices like overwork, bullying, abuse, humiliation and poor conditions, is a collective experience for millions of workers in UK companies' global and domestic supply chains. Media, civil society and academic reports anecdotally show that there is a connection between a company's sourcing practices and violation of WD in the supply chain.

Besides influencing the lives of workers in supply chains, violation of WD has serious and direct implications for UK companies' productivity. It can cause significant negative impacts on workers' commitment, health and wellbeing with a consequent decrease in supplier performance. The productivity of UK companies' can be negatively impacted, as a result.

WD is a key underlying principle of current business, government and civil society interventions aimed at protecting labour rights in supply chains. Yet, they fail to measure and manage WD in supply chains effectively. This is because these interventions rely on 'one-size-fits-all' labour standards and human rights conventions. In contrast, WD is a profoundly personal experience, and generic interventions can only address it to a limited extent.

Despite extensive interest in WD in supply chains, to date, there is no systematic investigation of how a company's sourcing practices contribute to perceptions of WD for workers in their supplier facilities or its knock-on effect on the suppliers' performance. Hence, there is a clear need to understand the relationship between sourcing practices, WD and supplier performance to build a compelling evidence base for further academic research as well as interventions for improving WD in supply chains.

The project, co-created in consultation with policymakers, businesses, civil societies, media and workers, aims to address this need by developing a Dignity-led Supply Chain Management (DSCM) framework, which makes WD central to supply chain management. Using a novel and ambitious research design consisting of interviews, drawings, surveys and field experiments, research will be conducted in two radically contrasting sourcing locations of UK companies (UK and India) and work settings (Information Technology Products & Services, and Textile & Garments). Across these settings, the project will investigate: (1) what WD means to workers in supplier facilities; (2) how, when and why sourcing practices of UK companies influence perceptions of WD for workers in supplier facilities; (3) how, when and why workers' perceptions of WD influence supplier performance; and (4) the collaborative design of impactful toolkits and policies for improving WD in supply chains.

I have developed this fellowship not only to complete this ambitious project and improve the lives of vulnerable workers and the economy but also to develop a skill set, network and team that will make me a global leader in the field of sustainable supply chain management by 2030. Throughout the project, I will closely engage with international academic experts in management, cultural psychology, political science and law, and experts in business and human rights policy and practice in United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Business & Human Rights Group, Thomsen Reuters Foundation, Confederation of Indian Industry and Twentyfifty.

By contributing to the improvement of WD in supply chains, my innovative DSCM framework will have a significant impact on the academic field but more importantly on the lives of millions of workers in the UK, India and other countries who are directly involved in developing our products and services. Besides, the DSCM framework will help to address the most concerning productivity challenges facing the UK economy.
Effective start/end date4/11/213/11/25


  • UK Research & Innovation


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