California Management Review
California Management Review is a premier academic management journal published at UC Berkeley
by Paul McGrath, Lucy McCarthy, Donna Marshall, and Jakob Rehme
Image Credit | Wilhelm Gunkel
This article explores the role that technology plays in creating and fostering transparency in global supply chains. Transparency is deemed vital in the creation of sustainable and resilient supply chains and overall effective corporate governance. There are two distinct orientations toward the use of technology by multinational corporations (MNCs) in creating sustainability transparency within their global supply chains: control and relational. A control orientation views technology as a tool to gather the ever-increasing levels of sustainability data on supplier practices in an efficient, secure, and progressively automated manner. A relational orientation adopts a view where technology is a tool to help build social relations and improve dialogue and collaboration on sustainability throughout the supply chain. A key difference in the two orientations lies in the mindset of the MNC manager toward the development of supply chain sustainability transparency. The article illustrates the effective application of both approaches and offers advice to managers on the design choices they need to consider in choosing technologies.