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Cultural Embeddedness in Supply Networks
Journal of Operations Management (2015)
  • Zhaohui Wu, Oregon State University
  • Madeleine E. Pullman, Portland State University
Recent studies on structural and relational embeddedness suggest that favorable position and connections in supply networks benefit a firm. While fruitful, this focus misses the motivations that prompt firms to take economic action in the first place. Understanding cultural embeddedness provides insight into why individuals and firms behave as they do and how their behavior can influence network structure. Contrary to the belief that firms act solely for profit and growth, we note that cultural contents such as values, social issues and political ideologies explain firms’ motives and guide their economic activities. We explore the role of cultural embeddedness through a grounded study of Country Natural Beef, a sustainability-oriented agricultural cooperative in the western United States. This supply network demonstrates strongly competing cultural claims among its members as well as a unique institutionalized culture. Cultural interactions at the node and network levels explain the functioning of and changes to the network. Through interviews, analysis of archival information and direct observation of pivotal events over a period of 5 years, we unpack cultural embeddedness and take an incremental step toward a theory of cultural embeddedness in cooperative supply networks.
Publication Date
July, 2015
Citation Information
Zhaohui Wu and Madeleine E. Pullman. "Cultural Embeddedness in Supply Networks" Journal of Operations Management Vol. 37 (2015)
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