Values based supply chain management and emergent organizational structure

Madeleine E. Pullman, Jesse Dillard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe an emergent supply chain management system that supports a sustainable values based organization (VBO) using a structuration theory-based framework.

Design/methodology/approach – A case study of a sustainable beef cooperative employing a structuration theory framework provides insights into sustainable supply chain management models.

Findings – The supply chain design and management afford the key to the VBO’s success. In order to attain the necessary price premium, the unique product attributes acquired through the natural beef production process must be sustained along the entire supply chain and communicated to the end customer. Structuration theory is useful in understanding supply chain management in VBOs.
Research limitations/implications – The paper has implications for studying VBOs, particularly those prioritizing sustainability values. The descriptive model presented is useful in settings where organizational structure and the supply chain are needed to support sustainable products and processes and whose success is facilitated by establishing strategic partners, especially those that make possible economies of scale. The study is limited to one, privately owned firm, operating in a specialty industry sector.

Practical implications – The paper has implications for those entities with an identified values set that endows the product with unique characteristics that must be conveyed to their end consumer in order to command a price premium and/or differentiate the product from a commodity. The case study provides an example of how a unique product as well as a facilitating organizational structure and supply chain emerge out of the application of a set of core values.

Originality/value – Little previous research focuses on implications of supply chain management in VBOs. In addition, the paper contributes to both the supply chain management and sustainability literature by relating supply chain management to a more comprehensive sustainability agenda including social, environmental, and long-term economic sustainability and by a theoretically based structuring.

Keywords Sustainable development, Supply chain management, Food industry, Organizational culture, Animal husbandry

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-771
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Decision Sciences(all)


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