Socially responsible supply chains: Power asymmetries and joint dependence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyse the role of relational power/dependent asymmetries and symmetries in shaping socially responsible supply chain management, whilst also examining how these issues are moderated by geographical distance between buyer and supplier.
Design/methodology/approach: The study draws on data from 339 buyer-supplier relationships, and we use a set of hierarchical regression models to test our hypotheses.
Findings: Joint dependency positively influences socially responsible supply chain management, whilst supplier power constrains it. Both joint dependency and buyer power becomes increasingly important determinants of socially responsible supply chain management as geographic distance increases.
Research limitations/implications: Further work is needed to examine the conditions under which organisations will exercise their power advantage or their joint dependence position to improve socially responsible processes in the supply chain, as there may be situations where buyer chooses not to exercise their power positions.
Practical implications: Our results indicate that jointly dependent relationships create the best conditions for socially responsible supply chain management, but we also find that supplier power advantage can constrain such initiatives.
Originality/value: This is the first paper to systematically analyse the implementation of socially responsible supply chain management, within a model that considers power a/symmetric positions of the buyer-supplier relationship, and the role of geographical distance as a moderating influence on these power positions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalSupply Chain Management: An International Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013



  • Sustainability
  • Supply chain management
  • social responsibility
  • power / dependence

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