Blockchain technology, social capital and sustainable supply chain management

  • Kunle Francis Oguntegbe
  • Nadia Di Paola
  • Roberto Vona
Keywords: Blockchain; digital supply chain; digital technology; fashion industry; social capital; sustainability


Purpose of the paper: This study integrates social capital and resource-based theories to expound on the contribution of blockchain technology to sustainability in supply chain management through the development of social capital.

Methodology: This study employs an abductive approach. Empirical data were obtained from six companies participating in the recently launched Italiafashion project (a disguised name to protect anonymity) in the Italian fashion industry. A qualitative content analysis was applied to data extracts from the six cases.

Results: Three key sustainability objectives firms pursue with the use of blockchain technology were identified; three propositions also emerged regarding the role of that technology and social capital in sustainable supply chain management.

Research limits: This study relies on a case study methodology due to its exploratory nature. Future studies could extend the investigation by considering a complete supply chain network with a higher number of observations selected from each category of stakeholders, and the possibility to use quantitative approaches.

Practical implications: This study identifies three key sustainability objectives (product safety, brand authenticity and strategic positioning), which could guide managers when considering the use of digital technologies for supply chain management.

Originality of the paper: A research framework is presented that illustrates the resource-based view of social capital in a digital supply chain management system. We argue that a blockchain-enabled supply chain system bolsters partnering firms with digital supply chain social capital such as improved inter-organisational trust, patterns of connections and shared understandings.



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