Exploring supply chain sustainability risk in the UK fashion industry : a multiple case-study

Rafi-ul-Shan, Piyya Muhammad

Business
2015

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2015 Piyya Muhammad Rafi-ul-Shan. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

Much has been written about fashion supply chains in recent years pertaining to the offshoring of production and sourcing by the companies in the UK fashion industry to other countries including inter alia Asia, as well as the attendant risks to such activities. Evidence suggests that businesses can experience disruptions from sustainability issues in their supply chains. In addition, there is an increasing focus on sustainability issues in global businesses and the UK fashion industry is not immune to these issues. Nevertheless, consideration of sustainability and its impact on risk pertaining to the supply chains in the UK fashion industry has not been actively pursued. Moreover, little is known about how sustainability issues manifest themselves as risks. Finally, the lack of a sustainability risk conceptualisation hinders the development of a sustainability risk management framework, which is critical to enable global fashion supply chains to survive and compete in a volatile and demand-driven sector. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to explore the phenomenon of sustainability risk and supply chain sustainability risk management processes within the context of the UK fashion industry.

For the purpose of exploration, an inductive qualitative research approach and a multiple case study research method were adopted. The UK fashion industry has exhibited interesting dynamics in the last few decades. For example, UK textile and garment manufacturing has massively declined in size, yet the UK fashion industry demonstrates fierce competition and retailer concentration. Therefore, five fashion companies were theoretically sampled from the UK fashion industry. The selected companies were a good mix of small and medium size. All carried out their major operations such as sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, warehousing and customer service in the UK. This enabled the researcher to deeply explore and gain insights into the phenomenon of sustainability risk and supply chain sustainability risk management processes in the contemporary context of the UK fashion industry. Data was collected by semi-structured interviews, supported by observations and secondary sources. Interview transcripts were subject to narrative analysis based upon a social constructionist approach.

This research identified seven major factors as barriers and drivers for supply chain sustainability risk management: organisational culture, growth of fast fashion, organisational resources, management structure, safeguarding brand reputation, stimulator of innovation and co-opetition. These findings were further grouped into a supply chain sustainability risk management typology. The typology implies that the case companies need to understand and should have knowledge about their current and potential future key sustainability risk and then need to have a certain organisational design and innovative management processes to manage their supply chain sustainability risk.

Publisher
Business School, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Grant, David B.
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
3 MB
Identifier
hull:14340
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