Mediating effect of productivity between sustainable supply chain management practices and competitive advantage: evidence from apparel manufacturing in Bangladesh

Mohammad Rezaur Razzak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Drawing on the combined theoretical perspectives offered by the sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) practices view and the resource-based view (RBV), this study aims to examine whether pursuit of environmental, social and economic sustainability measures of SSCM practices drive competitive advantage (CA) among fashion-apparel manufacturing organizations in an emerging economy. Furthermore, the study investigates whether the above relationships are mediated by productivity. Design/methodology/approach: Based on a theoretically supported conceptual framework, a set of hypotheses are tested by applying partial least squares structural equation modeling on a sample of 345 export-oriented fashion-apparel manufacturing companies in Bangladesh. SmartPLS (v.3.2) is applied to analyze the path model through bootstrapping procedure. Findings: The findings suggest that the direct relationship between social sustainability dimension of SSCM practices along and CA is positive and significant. While the direct relationships between environmental sustainability and CA, and economic sustainability and CA, were found to be non-significant. However, when productivity was applied as a mediator, all the paths were significant. Research limitations/implications: The study contributes to the strategic management literature by presenting a combined theoretical perspective proposing the idea that sustainable supply chain practices can influence both productivity and CA, where productivity is a pertinent mediator. Practical implications: The study presents evidence for ready-made garments manufacturers in emerging economies on how compliance with environmental, social and economic sustainability measures in the supply chain of apparel manufacturers leads to gains in CA for the firms. Additionally, the study shows that such measures must also have a net positive impact on productivity to be able to influence CA significantly. Originality/value: This paper appears to be among the first study that presents a framework based on a combined view of SSCM practices and RBV to empirically investigate the role of productivity as a mediator in the relationships between the sustainability dimensions of SSCM practices and CA in apparel manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-445
Number of pages18
JournalManagement of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 7 2023


  • Apparel manufacturing
  • Competitive advantage
  • Productivity
  • Sustainable supply chain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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