Moral (de)coupling moral disengagement and supply chain management

Detta är en avhandling från University of Borås; The Swedish School of Textiles

Sammanfattning: This research aims to fill an important gap in focusing on why individuals are able totake part in and/or support activities that have effects on economic, environmental, and social dimensions that are not consistent with their sense of right and wrong.The research focuses on the relationship between supply chain management and moral disengagement, and how this relation affects social responsibility.After observing individuals avoiding responsibility for misconduct an explanatoryconcept, moral decoupling, was proposed. Moral decoupling considers moral responsibility a flow in the supply chain. Moral decoupling occurs when the flow isrestricted. If moral decoupling occurs at an identifiable point it is called a moraldecoupling point. The concept was developed by identifying and linking specific supplychain activities and structures with moral disengagement, a theory that explainsthe deactivation of self regulation.Moral decoupling was able to suggest how to reduce moral disengagement and improve social responsibility. To validate the suggestions a literature review onsocial responsibility was conducted and identified sixteen elements of social responsibility in supply chain management. The suggestions based on moral disengagementwere compared with elements of social responsibility and a large overlap wasfound. Lastly, suggestions on how to reduce moral disengagement and map moralresponsibility in a supply network are proposed, links between elements of social responsibility are presented, and moral coupling is added as a complementary term tomoral decoupling. A model explaining the relationship between ethical guidelines,moral responsibility, moral decoupling, and social responsibility is proposed.In relation to current theoretical knowledge the thesis has contributed to the field of socially responsible supply chain management with an application of a new theoretical lens that gives one explanation as to why identifed elements of social responsibility are important. The understanding of social responsibility has reached an increased explanatory depth following the identification of moral disengagementas a generative mechanism, subject to conditions in supply chain management. Theresearch has also applied moral disengagement in a context not identified in earlier research, and shows some of the complexity of applying it to a real-world global context. The elements of social responsibility and moral (de)coupling help practitioners identify what they should focus on to increase social responsibility and also offer an explanation for `why?'. The findings can be used to construct supply chains that are less prone to misconduct and to identify where in the chain it is important to be aware of immoral behavior.The value and originality of this research is centered on the application of anew theoretical lens for socially responsible supply chain management. It is the only identified research in the area which identifies mechanisms on a generativelevel that explains human behavior and conditions to which those mechanisms aresubject. This is also in itself a novel application of moral disengagement in a newresearch context.