Interrelationships amongst factors for sub-supplier corporate sustainability standards compliance: An exploratory field study

Jörg H. Grimm*, Joerg S. Hofstetter, Joseph Sarkis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Sub-supplier compliance with a focal firm's corporate sustainability standards (CSS) is increasingly recognized as an important dimension of sustainable supply chain management. This paper draws on recent sub-supplier management studies and their critical success factors (CSFs) to investigate the interrelationships between and strengths of CSFs. While previous research focused on the perspective and practices only of focal firms, this exploratory field study investigated a focal firm, one of its suppliers and one of its sub-suppliers in a multi-tier supply chain setting. Our findings suggest that sub-supplier assessment and collaboration are influenced by (1) the committed long-term relationship between the direct supplier and the sub-supplier, (2) the involvement of the direct supplier, and (3) the focal firm's buyer-power over the direct supplier. In return, sub-supplier assessment and collaboration influence those and further CSFs in a feedback loop, enabling virtuous or vicious cycle effects. The perspective of the sub-supplier revealed substantial differences to the supplier and the focal firm, in particular the lower feedback loop effect of collaboration on CSFs.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberDecember
Pages (from-to)240-259
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 17.08.2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Multi-tier supply chains
  • Sustainable supply chain management
  • Sub-supplier management
  • Theory of critical success factors
  • Field study research


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