Information systems-enabled sustainability transformation in food supply chain management: a multi-theory perspective
AffiliationComputing and Information Systems
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2022-11-13.
© 2020 Imairi Eitiveni
There have been growing expectations that the food industry should improve their economic, environmental, and social impacts simultaneously. Compared to other industries, the food industry faces pressing environmental and social issues including food waste due to shelf life constraint, disruptions caused by weather or pests, the use of toxic pesticides in farming, food contamination, child labour, and human rights violation. Consequently, organisations in food supply chains are pressured to integrate environmental and social objectives, or known as sustainability, into their supply chain management. However, transforming towards a sustainable supply chain is challenging. It is inter-organisational in nature, involving different and sometimes conflicting, objectives among various stakeholders. Moreover, successful sustainability transformation requires a set of specific resources and organisational capabilities that are often supported by technologies in general and information systems (IS) in specific. Nonetheless, the previous studies do not inform us adequately about how we can particularly use IS to develop the necessary capabilities to engage in sustainable practice. This study addresses the current knowledge gaps by investigating the following research question: “How do IS support the sustainability transformation in food supply chains?” This study applies Stakeholder theory, Affordance Theory, and Dynamic Capability Theory to guide the research in planning, execution, and data analysis. The study adopts a multiple case study approach involving five Indonesian food manufacturers and their suppliers, resulting in the development of an IS-enabled sustainability transformation model that addresses the research question. The IS-enabled sustainability transformation model presents key elements that contribute to the successful sustainability transformation in supply chains. The model describes the interactions between organisations and IS that result in the identification of nine possibilities for actions, which are referred to as IS affordances. The actualisation of these affordances, in turn, leads to the development of a set of sustainability capabilities. The exercise of these sustainability capabilities collectively contributes to the development of dynamic sustainability capabilities pertinent to a successful transformation process. In short, the study argues that by developing specific dynamic capabilities enabled by IS, organisations can enhance their change process towards becoming sustainable entities. The thesis advances the current knowledge at the intersection of the SSCM and IS fields in the following ways: 1. It improves our understanding of IS and the potential affordances emerging from its material properties, sustainability goals, and socio-technical conditions. 2. It extends the current knowledge of how IS enable the development of essential sustainability capabilities by applying a novel combination of Stakeholder theory, Affordance Theory, and Dynamic Capability Theory 3. It provides rich empirical evidence demonstrating that firms require certain dynamic capabilities to respond to challenges posed by emerging environmental and social issues. 4. It extends the literature by presenting a holistic view of sustainability transformation. 5. It provides insights into how IS can support firms to anticipate and deal with challenging social issues in supply chains. 6. It enhances our understanding of how sustainability transformation occurs in a developing country.
KeywordsInformation Systems; Supply Chain Management; Sustainability; Sustainable Supply Chain Management; Food Supply Chain; Indonesia; Affordance Theory; Stakeholder Theory; Sustainability transformation; Dynamic Capability Theory; IS affordance
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