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Can Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives Improve Global Supply Chains? Improving Deliberative Capacity with a Stakeholder Orientation

  • Vivek Soundararajan (a1), Jill A. Brown (a2) and Andrew C. Wicks (a3)


Global multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are important instruments that have the potential to improve the social and environmental sustainability of global supply chains. However, they often fail to comprehensively address the needs and interests of various supply-chain participants. While voluntary in nature, MSIs have most often been implemented through coercive approaches, resulting in friction among their participants and in systemic problems with decoupling. Additionally, in those cases in which deliberation was constrained between and amongst participants, collaborative approaches have often failed to materialize. Our framework focuses on two key aspects of these breakdowns: assumptions about the orientation of MSI participants, and the deliberation processes that participants use to engage with each other to create these initiatives and sustain them over time. Drawing from stakeholder and deliberation theories, we revisit the concept of MSIs and show how their deliberative capacity may be enhanced in order to encourage participants to collaborate voluntarily.

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