The purpose of this research is to help reduce tensions in supply chain social sustainability (SCSS) decisions by providing a common global, contextual definition of social sustainability. This exploratory study utilised an inductive structured interview method to capture SCSS concept meanings. Those interviewed are from, have lived, and worked in developed economies, emerging economies and the base of the pyramid (BOP) economies. The results present a new global baseline definition of SCSS to inform theory and practice by finding that SCSS meanings differ not only between the different levels of economic development, but also within the levels as well. Culture, community and whether basic human needs are met all weigh into perspectives of what this concept is and should entail; a broad, contingent definition is most appropriate moving forward for sustainability planning and execution. Further research with stakeholders in more countries and communities is needed to validate our proposal.
- base of the pyramid
- contingency theory
- economic development
- emerging economies
- Supply chain social sustainability