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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1137: International Symposium on Innovation in Integrated and Organic Horticulture (INNOHORT)

Perception of fairness within organic fresh produce supply chains: the case of small and medium fresh produce retailers

Authors:   J. Jacob-John, N.K. Veerapa
Keywords:   fairness, ethics, retailers, supply chain, trust, B2B
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1137.33
Consumers and other stakeholders expect ethical business practices along the supply chain, making it imperative for business customers to have a 'responsibility centred' purchasing strategy. This paper analyses the influence of perception of responsibility and ethics by focussing on “fairness” within supply chain relationships. The research employs a multiple case study approach to analyse the relationship between fair and equitable business conduction and dyadic supply chain relationships from a business customer's (retailer's) perspective. The researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with an intent to determine fairness related factors that affect purchasing and vertical inter-organizational relationships. The results illustrate that within the organic fresh fruit and vegetable value chain, the vertical relationships between suppliers and business customers are heavily influenced by the perception of fairness and responsibility centric activities of the supplier organization. A major finding of fairness perception is that from a business customer's perspective, fairness perception is possible only when there is a fair behaviour to all stakeholders and thereby, the paper defines fairness from a stakeholder perspective. Moreover, by dividing fairness into three components; distributive, procedural and interactive fairness, the paper illustrates that there is a difference in perceived fairness according to the focus on each component of fairness. With greater competition from both local and international suppliers, it is imperative that suppliers create and implement strategies that foster effective supply chain relationships and this research guides managers to achieve the same. Research analysing the interrelationships between the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain actors' fairness perception and stakeholder orientation, and propensity to repurchase within a business-to-business context is minimal and this paper contributes to this scant literature.

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