Organisations increasingly see sustainability as an important element of their business strategies, and the role of purchasing and supply functions is critical in translating sustainability commitment into performance. Yet, the impact of sustainability commitment on purchasing processes and routines, as well as the effect of such capabilities on performance, remains empirically under-explored. From a Resource-Based perspective, we argue that commitment to sustainability leads purchasing and supply functions to develop intra- and inter-firm collaborative capabilities, and that in turn these capabilities deliver improved performance. Based on survey data from 383 procurement executives in ten European and North American countries, we use structural equation modelling to empirically test our hypotheses. Our results provide strong support for the hypothesised links between sustainability commitment and both intra- and inter-firm collaborative capabilities; and between inter-firm collaborative capabilities and environmental and social, and cost performance. Conversely, our data do not support the hypothesised links between intra-firm collaborative capabilities and both aspects of performance. In our discussion, we reflect on both confirmatory and conflicting findings in relation to theory and practice, before examining the study’s limitations and opportunities for future research.
- purchasing and supply management
- intra-firm collaborative capabilities
- inter-firm collaborative capabilities