The Emergent Nature of Networked Sustainable Procurement
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSustainability. 2021, 13 (1), . https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010134
The complex and networked nature of sustainable procurement is evoked through confronting two conceptual models, the triple bottom line-inspired parallel-type “interlocking circles model” with the more systems-oriented series-type “concentric circles model”. This endeavor is integrated with a developed application of contingency theory rooted in network thinking. Two subcase narratives from Ghana, one in the upstream portion of the supply chain associated with exploration and platform-based production, and the other an oil refinery in the downstream part are provided. Interaction, interdependency, and integration, all associated with value, conceptually ground the analyses. A developed empirically grounded conceptual model depicts sustainability as systemically intertwined with value and networked in an immediate business, network, and wider noncontextual natural and social environment. Sustainable procurement is networked, a value creating managerial process rather than, as the triple bottom line posits, a norm “out there” directing managerial action. Sustainability is inherently complex. Rather than guiding action through deterministic ethical norms, it emerges as emergent practices primarily through purposeful interaction within the supply network that instead may be interpreted and developed in a long-term sense through using the two discussed conceptual models on sustainable production.