The Green Contagion Effect: an Investigation into the Propagation of Environmental Practices Across Multiple Supply Chains Tiers

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International Journal of Production Research

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The phenomenon of green contagion refers to the diffusion of sustainability practices across multi-tier supply chains. In this research, we propose a model of green contagion, theorising that both collaborative and coercive mechanisms play a role in the propagation of environmental sustainability across supply chains. Hypotheses are tested using a structural equation model with a multinational dataset of 616 manufacturing organisations reporting on their green practices, both internally within the firm and externally with suppliers and customers. From a theoretical perspective, the results lend support to the green contagion effect, with five out of the seven hypotheses being supported. The rejected hypotheses refer to a firm’s internal adoption of green practices influencing green collaborative practices with suppliers, and a customer’s use of coercive mechanisms towards a firm influencing the adoption of green collaborative practices between the firm and its suppliers. The findings have theoretical and practical implications for production research, as they highlight the challenges that organisations face when trying to influence green practices beyond tier 1 suppliers, and show that collaborative practices may prove more effective than coercive practices.


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