Agile capabilities as necessary conditions for maximising sustainable supply chain performance: An empirical investigation

Geyi, Danasabe Godwin, Yusuf, Yahaya orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6045-3245, Menhat, Masha S., Abubakar, Tijjani and Ogbuke, Nnamdi Johnson (2019) Agile capabilities as necessary conditions for maximising sustainable supply chain performance: An empirical investigation. International Journal of Production Economics, 222 . p. 107501. ISSN 0925-5273

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The effects of agile practices on sustainability performance measures require examination and clarification especially given the wider diffusion of agility and the increasing embrace of sustainability. More importantly, the role agility plays in enhancing or not enhancing sustainability performance is not fully understood. Therefore, we explored the interaction effects between agile practices, sustainable practices, operational performance objectives and sustainable performance of organisations. A survey of higher carbon and energy intensive supply chains in the UK was carried out with a net 311 respondent organisations. The results show that there is a significant correlation between sustainable supply chain practices and agile practices. Also, the results indicate that agile practices do have a positive influence on both sustainability performance and operational performance objectives. Whilst the link between agility and operational performance is not new, what is new here is the connection between agile practices and sustainability performance. In addition, the findings show that sustainable supply chain practices predict both sustainability performance and operational performance. But more importantly, when these relationships are mediated by agile practices, the performance impacts of sustainability practices are enhanced. These findings question the usefulness of implementing sustainability practices within the supply chains when there is a lack of agile capabilities. In other words, the results suggest that agile capabilities are necessary conditions for maximizing the outcomes of implementation of sustainability practices. As such, managers who want to maximize the outcomes of their sustainability campaigns should consider concurrent implementation of sustainability practices and agile practices.

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