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Title: On sustainability
Authors: Chen, Shanyin Helen
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2021
Abstract: This thesis studies sustainability at the organizational level in the field of business and management research. It explores different aspects of the subject with two complementary essays: the first essay develops a theoretical model to explicate the interactions on the environmental-economic intersection of sustainability in the private sector; the second essay designs a strategic supply chain framework to enable sustainable practices for social value creation in the humanitarian sector. The purpose that motivates both essays is to ground the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in contexts and develop practically relevant knowledge in sustainability research that is readily translatable into actionable solutions. Essay 1, Green Competitiveness, studies the environmental-economic intersection of corporate sustainability. It develops an intermediate theory of green competitiveness (GC) on the nexus' context-contingent interactions. The rationale underpinning the study is that a pragmatic approach aligning environmental protection with business' economic logic can be more effective in driving and sustaining corporate green practices. The project's mixed-methods design takes three phases: (1). Phase 1 - systematic literature review retrieves and identifies 171 relevant and quality academic articles on the topic of GC; (2). Phase 2 - quasi meta-analysis codes and categorizes the dataset by research characteristics to quantify empirical evidence for data-driven theorizing; (3). Phase 3 - abductive reasoning develops progressively six moderated-mediated propositions through a rigorous and replicable process of hypothesis generation, refinement, evaluation, and acceptance. Also proposed in conjunction with the preliminary GC theoretical model are a new green typology, an intermediate construct of GC, and four concepts of key contextual contingencies. Together, they elevate the GC research stream from a nascent to an intermediate theory. During the theory development process, the essay also makes three peripheral contributions that address the following research gaps in the existing literature: (1). The G-C logic chain designed to support abductive reasoning can serve as a coherent framework to integrate fragmented studies on different subdimensional environmental-economic (G-C) relations; (2). The extensive list of measures for green and competitiveness can be used to improve consistency and validity of construct operationalization in future GC studies; and (3). The holistic organizational performance framework (HOPF) designed for hypothesis evaluation can be refined into a theoretical model for sustainability research. Academics interested in furthering GC research may consider the essay's recommendations to (1). Go beyond the construct level to examine specific G-C subdimensional links with strong theoretical matching and proximal causal connection; (2). Limit the study to a single sector or region if the key contextual contingencies cannot be measured and controlled; (3). Collect longitudinal data, use nonlinear models, and vary lag lengths between focal constructs to capture the time-variant dynamics of G-C interactions. Practitioners may refer to the GC five-forces framework for corporate environmental strategy planning, the roadmap towards the green market for implications on building a context conducive to corporate green practices, and the hierarchy of green forces for an institutional view on the structure and functions of different green motivations - all developed by applying the proposed GC theoretical model in different contexts. Future research may empirically test the proposed hypotheses, develop measurement items and scales for the intermediate construct of GC, or design an interdisciplinary framework for environmental performance measurement which is fundamental to harnessing GC as a force for sustainability.
Essay 2, Sustainable Humanitarian Supply Chains, designs a strategic supply chain framework to enable context-contingent sustainable humanitarian operations. The sustainable humanitarian supply chain (SHSC) strategic framework is developed through a four-phase design process: observing the contexts, framing the problem, eliciting the design imperatives, and developing the solution. The solution imperatives are elicited by specifying the performance objective of sustainable humanitarian operations, identifying the required supply chain capabilities, and distilling the practical SHSC tactics. The framework is then formulated based on the specified design imperatives. It proposes four context-contingent SHSC strategies: Operational Leanness, Scalable Readiness, Proximal Readiness, and Collaborative Preparedness and Response. Humanitarian practitioners may use the framework to identify contextually congruent strategies to improve the sustainability performance of HSCs. A roadmap for phased implementation is also proposed based on humanitarian organizations' mission profile and capability portfolio. The framework fills the research gap of a strategic supply chain framework with sustainability as the performance objective in the humanitarian context. Future research may design an interdisciplinary framework for social performance measurement or experiment to elicit humanitarian practitioners' mental decision models in emergency response situations.
Subjects: Sustainable development
Sustainable development -- Economic aspects
Environmental economics
Production management -- Environmental aspects
Business logistics -- Environmental aspects
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xi, 101 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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